A national poll released by Gallup shows that 66 percent of Americans — a new all-time high — support the legalization of cannabis.
The new poll shows an overwhelming majority of Democrats (75%) and Independents (71%) support legalization. Even Republicans show majority support, though just barely at 53 percent. Unsurprisingly, people aged 18-54 signaled strong support for legalization — but what is surprising in the poll results is a notable increase in support from those 55 and older, up from 50 to 59 percent.
Ten years ago, only the western U.S. showed majority support for legalization and, at 56 percent, it was just a slim majority. The latest poll, however, shows nearly equal support for legalization across the U.S., with every major region polling well above the majority in favor. 67 percent in the East, 65 percent in the Midwest, South and West.
Gallup has been tracking public opinion of cannabis legalization since 1969. In that year, only 12 percent of those polled showed support for legalization. The figure climbed slowly for the first 30 years that Gallup has been tracking, hanging just above 20 percent for much of the time. After the millenium, however, support began to climb more rapidly. Between 2000 and 2018 support has more than doubled.
It remains to be seen how or if the latest poll results will affect federal policy. There exists some Congressional support for legalization already, but officials in the Trump Administration have continued working to maintain prohibition.
Most recently, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made headlines for continued delays in the licensing process for cultivators of research-grade cannabis.
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