It’s a new day for cannabis in America, or so it seems from a new poll on marijuana showing historic levels of support for legalization. Quinnipiac University pollsters found seven of 10 Americans now support marijuana legalization for adults. Also new is that the record breaking 69% national support includes 62% support among Republicans.
Although the new marijuana poll figures are impressive for cannabis advocates, they are not actually that surprising. Legislative action on marijuana continues occurring at break neck speeds nationwide, including in many purple to deep red states.
Last month, lawmakers in Virginia and New York passed laws making them the 15th and 16th states to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. And just this past week New Mexico became the 17th state to make buying cannabis just like buying a six pack of beer.
In November’s elections, voters in the conservative hubs of Montana and South Dakota overwhelmingly passed initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana, while Mississippi voters passed a medicinal measure — all over the protests of powerful Republican officials who have sought to overturn their voter’s clear will. While over in Oklahoma, another conservative state, officials built a vigorous medical program in just three years.
In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is promising to bring a marijuana legalization bill to the Senate floor in the near future. The Democratic leader’s promise came before his home state of New York legalized, which only increases pressure to act from his constituents eager to get into this new multi-billion dollar industry.
The Quinnipiac marijuana poll has been asking Americans where they stand on the issue since 2012. This is the highest level of support it has found yet — 18 percentage points higher than when the same question was asked nine years ago.
The poll indicates cannabis reform is less partisan than ever before. Still, unsurprisingly, 78% of Democratic respondents are supportive, though now almost two in three people who identify as Republicans do, too. And 93% of all respondents, no matter their party affiliation, favor marijuana use for medicinal purposes.
Of respondents aged 18 to 34, a whopping 78% support legalization. And 51% of people 65 and older endorsed it as well.
Two years ago, when the same questions were asked, only about 60% were in favor of legalization.
The survey involved interviews with 1,237 American adults from April 8-12, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.