For the first time in 40 years of surveys, a majority of Americans support legalizing pot. National polling on the issue of marijuana legalization began in 1969. While legalization has received growing support since the 1990s, 2013 marks the first time such support reached a majority.
The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center from March 13-17, found that 52% of the 1,501 adults surveyed favored legalizing the use of pot while only 45% were opposed to legalization. The 1969 Gallup poll on the same subject revealed just 12% favored legalization, while 84% were opposed.
Support for legalizing pot increased in every age group surveyed. As expected, those between the ages of 18 and 32 were the most supportive (65%), while those 65 and over were the least supportive (33%). However, support for legalization among those 65 and over increased by 11% since March 2010.
The survey also found that 48% of Americans have tried marijuana (up from 38% a decade ago), and only 38% believe marijuana is a “gateway drug” (down from 60% in 1977).
Additionally, less Americans view smoking pot as a moral issue. In 2006 50% said that smoking pot is morally wrong. Currently only 32% believe cannabis consumption is morally wrong and 50% say it’s not a moral issue at all.
An impressive 72% say efforts by the US government to enforce pot laws cost more than they are worth and 60% believe the government should not enforce federal laws prohibiting pot use in states where it is legal (Colorado and Washington).
Head to www.people-press.org for more survey results.