On the heels of marijuana surveys from Pew Research and Bloomberg, CBS News, with a nod to the culture on April 20, released its own survey results. The big picture: 53 percent of those responding favor legal recreational marijuana, while 43 percent oppose it (among 1,012 adults surveyed nationwide). 84 percent of those surveyed support legal medical marijuana.
These numbers reflect a sea change in public opinion. As recently as 2011, only 40 percent of those responding to the CBS study favored legal cannabis. In the first year of the survey, 1979, only 27 percent supported legal pot, while a whopping 69 percent believed it should be illegal.
The finding that 53 percent of adults support legal recreational cannabis echoes the recent Pew Research and Bloomberg studies, both of which revealed the exact same percentage of supporters. Bloomberg also found that 73 percent support legal medical cannabis (lower than the CBS figure of 84 percent) and that 68 percent are “more likely” to vote on the issue if it comes up on their ballot.
The CBS News survey revealed some things not exposed in the Pew and Bloomberg studies. For example, 51 percent of respondents said alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis, with 28 percent saying they are both equally harmful. As a group, men are more likely to support legal marijuana, while women are split on the issue.
Like the recent Pew study revealed, an overwhelming majority of young people support legalization. As shown in previous studies, a larger percentage of Democrats than Republicans support legalization.
Last Friday Pew Research published 6 facts about the changing tides of public opinion on marijuana. Pew Research used recent data along with historical data from Gallop Polls and General Social Survey to put together some interesting graphical representations of society’s changing attitude.
1. Most Americans Support Legalization
The first time the marijuana question was given on a Gallup Poll was back in 1969. At the time, support was at just 12%. The times have certainly changed since 1969 and now a whopping 52% of Americans support legalization.
2. Support Varies With Age
With 45% of of Americans still opposing legalization, it’s clear that some groups are holding on to their opposing views. Americans aged 69 to 86 for instance, only show about 27% in favor of legalization. There is a clear generational divide between the supporters and the opposition.Baby Boomers are the oldest generation to support legalization and only by a slim margin.
3. Keep It At Home
Although the trend seems to be in favor of legalization, it seems that most folks still want nothing to do with it. That means: if you smoke do it at home or at minimum keep it away from me. The states who are experiencing legalization are very familiar with this sentiment already. Colorado and Washington both have laws in place to keep smoking off the streets and for the most part, private.
4. Half of Americans have smoked pot.
That’s right half. The correlation between this figure and the number that support legalization shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if you also consider that 69% of Americans believe that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana.
5. The Lay Of The Land
While these numbers might look encouraging to legalization proponents, this map doesn’t tell the same story. Only two states have implemented legalization with two more currently on the ballots. Twenty three states allow for some form of medical marijuana and sixteen have decriminalized the plant.
The numbers speak for themselves and this November marks yet another opportunity for several states to join the legalization front. If the research is any indication of the future, legalization is indeed inevitable and soon the policies will represent the people of this country a bit more accurately.
Via: Pew Research