A new poll has found that a majority of American adults favors the legalization of cannabis, continuing a trend of increased acceptance of the substance as more states are set to legalize its use.
The poll, conducted by Gallup in early October, found that 58 percent of Americans thought the use of cannabis should be made legal, while 40 percent disagreed. Another 2 percent expressed no opinion.
The survey’s results continue a change in public opinion tracked by Gallup over the past five decades on the issue of cannabis legalization. In 1969 — the first year in which the polling outfit began posing the question — just 12 percent of American adults favored legalization, while an eye-popping 84 percent said that they favored keeping it illegal.
The evolution in the public’s thinking on the issue comes as more than half of the states in the U.S. have some form of cannabis legalization on the books. Four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia — allow for the legal use of recreational cannabis. Twenty-six states have established medical cannabis regimes, and nine more states this year are set to vote on whether to further loosen their restrictions on cannabis.
The issue has gained traction over the past year politically. Cannabis even captured the attention of presidential frontrunner, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who promised to instruct the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to reschedule cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance if she wins the presidency.
The Gallup survey found that, in terms of age, the demographic group most likely to support legalization was 18-35-year-olds. A full 71 percent of the age group favors legalization, compared with just 35 percent support among those 64 and older. As cannabis continues to enter the mainstream — particularly with such ancillary products as edibles and vaporizers — the numbers indicate that support for cannabis legalization is likely to steadily increase as the younger generation gradually replaces the old.
The Gallup survey was conducted from Oct. 7-11 among 1,015 adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
John Winston is a New York City-based writer and a media advisor for nyvapeshop.com