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.