A recent poll found that fifty-five percent of American adults think that the laws regulating the legal cannabis markets in some states are successful, or that they are at least “more of a success than a failure.”
The survey, taken by YouGov on April 20 of this year, asked 27,328 Americans living in the states that have already enacted laws to legalize marijuana, “Do you think the legislation has been a success or a failure?”
The poll provided 5 response options to participants:
More of a success than a failure
More of a failure than a success
Combining to account for the majority, thirty-six percent of poll participants say the laws regulating the legal cannabis markets in eleven of the states are “more of a success than a failure” and nineteen percent replied that they are a total success.
Believing the opposite, thirteen percent of respondents stated that recreational legalization laws have been “more of a failure than a success.” Only six percent view the legislation as a complete failure. Unsure of the effectiveness of the laws, twenty-six percent of people replied that they “don’t know.”
YouGov sorted the survey results according to:
Significant imbalances in responses among the geographical regions, gender, age, and income levels of poll participants were not observed.
Disparity Among Political Parties
The only category that produced a notable difference among respondents was political party affiliation. Not surprisingly, Democrats and Independents were more likely to reply that the legislation was a “success only” or “more of a success than a failure” than their Republican counterparts.
Sixty-seven percent of Democrats and fifty-four percent of Independents attested that regulated markets were operating within one of the two positive poll response choices. Forty-one percent of poll participants that described themselves as Republican also categorized the legislation as successful.
Independents (21 percent) were more likely than Democrats (10 percent) to consider the law to be a complete failure or “more of a failure than a success.” Thirty-four percent of Republicans agreed that the legislation is unsuccessful.
National Shift Toward Support
Another YouGov poll administered on the same day found that sixty-two percent of Americans believe that the use of cannabis will be legal in every one of the United States within the next decade and that fifty percent of voters believe that “recreational marijuana should be legalized.”
In-line with the results of this recent poll from YouGov, the opinion of the majority of Americans has been steadily shifting in support of legalization for many years now. A poll released by Gallup last year revealed that an even greater percentage of voters (66 percent) are now in favor of a regulated recreational cannabis market. That number increased from fifty-eight percent, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.
Polls from the last several years show that most voters in states like Maryland, Connecticut, and Wisconsin support the recreational legalization of marijuana. Some large cities in states where the plant has not yet been legalized for recreational use, like New Orleans, LA, and Dallas, TX, have still supported the trend by choosing to decriminalize personal possession.
Support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high across party lines, a new poll finds.
Sixty-eight percent of American voters now want to end cannabis prohibition, according to the survey released on Wednesday by leading progressive think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the research firm GBA Strategies.
Breaking down the demographics, here’s who’s now on board with legalizing marijuana:
57 percent of Republicans
77 percent of Democrats
62 percent of independents
66 percent of men
69 percent of women
69 percent of whites
72 percent of African Americans
64 percent of Latinos
The poll, which surveyed 1,000 registered voters, also found sizable, bipartisan support for measures to seal the criminal records of nonviolent offenders who serve their sentences.
But the CAP legalization numbers are the highest yet.
While the upward movement in public opinion with respect to legalization has been a consistent trend, especially over the past decade, the bipartisan nature of the new survey results is significant.
“In an era of increasing partisanship, public support for ending cannabis criminalization is an issue that crosses party lines,” Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, said in a press release. “More and more, elected officials—and those who wish to be elected—must acknowledge that advocating in favor of marijuana policy reform is a political opportunity, not a political liability.”
Ed Chung, vice president of criminal justice reform at CAP, told Marijuana Moment that the message is clear: cannabis legalization is the will of the people, and lawmakers should take note.
“[Legalization is] certainly going to be, at least, a bipartisan issue,” Chung said. “I think you’ll see a lot of progressive [elected officials] who are going to be out front about this.”
“Now, I think that there’s a lot of work still to be done about how this plays out in different states and nationally as well, but the first step is getting the concept of this socialized among elected leaders—and oftentimes, unfortunately, elected leaders are not leading on this issues, but following.”
Looking ahead to the 2020 presidential election, Chung said “this is going to be one of those issues that’s going to speed up very quickly.”
“Two and half years from now is a lifetime for this issue and for other social justice-type issues moving forward,” he said. “The support is going to only increase from here—that’s me looking into my crystal ball here—but I don’t see how any candidate, any credible candidate, who wants to capture the majority of the American public is going to look at this issue… I don’t think anybody can keep with supporting current policy.”
The survey also demonstrated widespread support “for states to automatically seal the records of nonviolent criminal offenders, allowing people who have served their time and paid their debts to re-enter society and pursue work, education, and family life,” the survey authors wrote.
A solid 70 percent of respondents agreed that states should “automatically seal the records of individuals convicted of nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors if the person has completed his or her sentence and has not committed another criminal offense.” That includes 75 percent of Democratic voters and 66 percent of Republican voters.
Notably, 58 percent of respondents said that they would be more likely to support a candidate who embraces legislation to give nonviolent offenders a clean slate, compared to just 18 percent who said they would be less likely to support such a candidate, the survey revealed.
The poll also found that 54 percent of marijuana legalization opponents support automatically sealing the records of people convicted of cannabis possession.
Chung said that the results reflected growing bipartisan consensus on issues related to criminal justice reform.
“The American public is showing not only support for changing the way the country has approached issues regarding substance use or substance misuse, but also trying to do something to help people who have been previously dragged through the criminal justice system,” he said. “I think a lot of criminal justice issues have that kind of really strange bedfellows, where you have progressives leading on social justice and the conservatives—libertarians especially—being on the [side of] government should stay out of my business.”