Poll: Clear majority support legalizing marijuana for the first time
October 22nd, 2013
03:21 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Clear majority support legalizing marijuana for the first time

(CNN) - More Americans think that marijuana should be legalized than those who want it kept illegal, according to a new poll.

According to the Gallup poll, 58% say that pot should be legalized, the first time in Gallup polling that a clear majority favor the move. Thirty-nine percent oppose legalization.

The 58% in favor of legalization is far removed from the 12% who said the same thing when Gallup first started asking in 1969, and it's up 10 percentage points since last November. The increase comes after a slight dip from when those supporting legalization first hit half the survey population, 50%, in 2011.

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The survey attributes much of the pro-marijuana momentum to public referendums last year in Colorado and Washington state that made pot legal. Among those surveyed, 38% admitted to having tried the drug themselves.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Department of Justice will not seek to block the Colorado and Washington laws.

Federal enforcement of marijuana laws in the so-called "War on Drugs" has declined under the Obama administration. Justice has issued guidelines to federal prosecutors telling them to no longer pursue mandatory-minimum sentences against low-level nonviolent drug offenders.

Most support for legalization comes from Democrats, 65%, and Independents, 62%. About one in three Republicans, 35%, agreed. The younger the respondent, the more likely they were to favor legalization: 67% for 18 to 29 year-olds compared to 62% for those 30 to 49. and 56% for those between 50 and 64. Only those 65 and older reported less than half in favor of legalizing marijuana, at 45%.

The Gallup poll was conducted October 3-6, with 1,208 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

Filed under: Polls
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. smith

    Wait a minute, don`t we hate smoking? Isn`t second hand smoke so awful? One joint is equal to one pack of cigs. with regards to damage to your body. Most pot out on the streets is full of mercury. I personally think pot is the same as drinking and smoking combined, but lets be honest.. pot is not some harmless drug that just makes giggle and eat junk food.

    October 22, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. just asking

    if this is legalized then the federal government now needs to force all dope smokers to purchase dope smokers liability insurance which will protect others from lose due to their stoned condition. why should everybody else pay for the damage you dope smokers do?

    October 22, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. anonymous

    Wake up People!
    If they do legalize it how on earth would they make their quota of arresting young black males???

    easy... they are the ones roaming the streets murdering people and attacking them. or do you porpose they be allowed to run rampant like they do in democrat controlled chicago?

    October 22, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Barbara

    What damage??

    October 22, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Legalize it... and tax the snot out of it.

    October 22, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Data Driven

    "Legalize it
    Don't criticize it
    Legalize it
    And I will advertise it" - Peter Tosh

    October 22, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "if this is legalized then the federal government now needs to force all dope smokers to purchase dope smokers liability insurance which will protect others from lose due to their stoned condition"

    Drunks first, then we'll talk. Oh wait...this just in...Boehner vehemently opposes it for boozers...wonder why....

    October 22, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. rommel1l

    Wow, I read these comments of people who are anti-marijuana and I have one question: Do you realize how ignorant you are or do you just think a majority of the American population are criminals and bad drugs users?

    October 22, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Chris Schutzenhofer

    Smoking pot is old school. Now days they bake it into what are called edibles. Therefore the "smoke haters" don't have a leg to stand on.

    October 22, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    They know NOT, what they advocate for.

    October 22, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  11. Dave

    Umm, Smith? Maybe you should read a book. You are sadly mistaken. Pot with Mercury in it? Are you retarded? Not a single person has died from smoking pot yet millions die each year from smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Congratulations, you are what's WRONG with America.

    October 22, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Jeff

    I'm sorry, are you currently required to buy drinker's insurance on the chance you might get into a car and kill someone? No – in fact, your auto insurance company won't pay out if you're impaired.

    If you want such policies, it has to be across the board – any chemical impairment at all.

    October 22, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. Why

    If our president can admit to smoking and inhaling, why can't we all do it? After all, isn't he the greatest? He's giving us this wonderful healthcare plan............

    October 22, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. intelligence

    => SMITH
    The pot on the street is full of mercury? One joint is equal to a pack of cigs? Where did you get this propaganda from? The TEA Party? Sounds like some erroneous talking points that would come from the TEA party. Both are absolutely not true.

    Yeah and they should make people who own guns pay liability insurance for when they don't lock up their guns from their kids and other mentally ill family members and then also get insurance for those who partake in alcohol seeing as it causes more death and destruction than pot ever could,........

    Ignorance is only bliss for the ignorant

    October 22, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. oldtimemoonshine

    lol if we're gonna force all dope smokers to get dope insurance then I guess we'll also need drunk insurance, nicotine insurance, walking insurance and for the majority of the other posters here "stupidity insurance"

    October 22, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  16. Gary Fonda

    Finally someone is asking the right questions. Legalize it, regulate it like alcohol, make it available to only people 21 and over, TAX it heavily and pay off the national debt in record time.

    October 22, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. smith

    @Wake up people-I suppose you think Micheal Jackson and OJ were innocent. Get a grip.

    October 22, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. VJ

    People always support weed... Govt... want to destroy it... Weed is good for health.

    October 22, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Alan

    The so-called "war on drugs" has always been a case of pouring money down the deepest rat hole we have. It is wasteful. It actually boosts crime by forcing the trade underground. And it's been a strange double-standard when alcohol, a much more dangerous drug, is legal and socially acceptable, while other drugs are not. All the same arguments against drugs can be applied against alcohol, and yet when we tried to ban it, it was a dismal failure. It created a violent world in which organized crime flourished. Almost everyone will admit that prohibition was a terrible failure. And yet the government has tried the same thing with other drugs with the same dismal results. We have clogged the courts, pouring billions into prisons and law enforcement and spending little on treatment programs. Most in power know this, though few will propose change because the minute a politician favors change, he will be portrayed by his opposition as being in favor of selling drugs to little kids in the playground. We have much more productive uses of our law enforcement and other public resources. It's time to end this nonsense.

    October 22, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. philliesphan1975

    "taxing the snot out of it" would almost be counter productive. Uruguay has the right idea by making it super cheap for all adults so there is NO WAY anyone in the black market could compete. IT needs to be so cheap that no black market could ever still make a profit on it...other wise a black market will still be selling it.

    October 22, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    They know NOT, what they advocate for.
    Why are you worried? You never know what you advocate for, only what you are against.

    October 22, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. zdfFf

    Well, smith, thanks but no thanks to your scientific assessment. "just asking": LOL. This is the beginning of the end of illegal recreational mj, like it or not. It's been a long road. Thanks to NORML, activists everywhere, and the American people for letting the voice of logic and reason be heard.

    October 22, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Sidewinder

    Legalize it. If booze is okay and cigs are okay, what hypocritical reason can you possibly cite to maintain illegal status? I guess we need to fund all these extra cops and prisons right? Or maybe, just maybe we could have cops round up only violent people or people who steal stuff and lock them up for long periods of time? I can understand the cops point of view though...sure is easier to round up some pot smokers and lock them up and pretend like you are really working.

    October 22, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Styxhexenhammer666

    Legalize it and let people grow a few plants and sell it back to canada and mexico.

    Instead of building a wall along the borders, let's make canada and mexico do it by letting citizens fire bags of weed over the border.

    October 22, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. smith

    @dave- First, I never said pot would kill you. Second, you need to help yourself to a health book. Long term pot use can cause damage to your body.

    October 22, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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