Poll Finds Majority of Americans Want to Legalize Marijuana

image of a person smoking a joint to show people want to legalize marijuana

WASHINGTON — Forbes reported Monday that the majority of Americans want to legalize marijuana, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll found that at least two-thirds of Americans participating in the survey think marijuana should be legal. The poll also found that the 66 percent of Americans who are in support of legal weed is a new record.

While the majority of Republicans have long been opposed to legalizing marijuana, the survey says that at least 53 percent of Republicans are now in favor of legalization. Fifty-nine percent of Americans over 55 also now believe that marijuana should be legal.

The growing popularity of marijuana legalization can be attributed to the decreasing stigma around the drug as people learn the many health benefits associated with marijuana. Studies have shown that marijuana is safer than prescription painkillers, especially for older adults.

Marijuana can effectively treat inflammation and pain as well as provide relief from the symptoms resulting from Alzheimer's, arthritis, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and PTSD among others.

Marijuana is still considered illegal under federal law, but states with legal medical marijuana programs have 3 million fewer patient opioid prescriptions written annually and 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid medications. Marijuana can also be helpful in treating opioid addiction and to help repair the brain damage done by prolonged opioid use.

People Love Mary Jane

Seventy-five percent of Democrats want to legalize marijuana along with 71 percent of Independents. The support for legalizing weed is highest among adults between 18 and 34, with 78 percent of those surveyed in support of legalization. People between 35 and 54 support legalizing marijuana by 65 percent.

30 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana so far, and several states have referendums on the ballot this November that could legalize the drug including Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah. Michigan and North Dakota both aim for full legalization while Missouri and Utah are focused on medical marijuana legalization.

Only 12 percent of Americans supported legalizing marijuana in 1969 when Gallup began marijuana legalization surveys with the number rising to 20 percent in the 1970's.

The number of those supporting legalization slowly increased and reached a tipping point in 2013 when more than 50 percent of those surveyed said that they favored marijuana legalization. Voters in both Colorado and Washington legalized the plant in 2013 for recreational use.marijuan

The results from the Gallup poll show an increasing favorability-trend towards marijuana legalization for a consecutive three-year period.