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Record-High 50% of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana Use

October 17, 2011

Liberals and those 18 to 29 most in favor; Americans 65 and older most opposed
by Frank Newport

PRINCETON, NJ -- A record-high 50% of Americans now say the use of marijuana should be made legal, up from 46% last year. Forty-six percent say marijuana use should remain illegal.

1969-2011 Trend: Support for Making Use of Marijuana Legal

When Gallup first asked about legalizing marijuana, in 1969, 12% of Americans favored it, while 84% were opposed. Support remained in the mid-20s in Gallup measures from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but has crept up since, passing 30% in 2000 and 40% in 2009 before reaching the 50% level in this year's Oct. 6-9 annual Crime survey.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States." The National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2009 found that "16.7 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, an increase over the rates reported in all years between 2002 and 2008."

The advocacy group National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws claims that marijuana is the third-most-popular recreational drug in America, behind only alcohol and tobacco. Some states have decriminalized marijuana's use, some have made it legal for medicinal use, and some officials, including former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, have called for legalizing its use.

A Gallup survey last year found that 70% favored making it legal for doctors to prescribe marijuana in order to reduce pain and suffering. Americans have consistently been more likely to favor the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes than to favor its legalization generally.

Younger Americans Most in Favor of Legalizing Marijuana

Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older. Liberals are twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana. And Democrats and independents are more likely to be in favor than are Republicans.

More men than women support legalizing the drug. Those in the West and Midwest are more likely to favor it than those in the South.

Support for Legalizing Use of Marijuana, by Subgroup, October 2011

Bottom Line

Support for legalizing marijuana has been increasing over the past several years, rising to 50% today -- the highest on record. If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues, pressure may build to bring the nation's laws into compliance with the people's wishes.
Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 6-9, 2011, with a random sample of 1,005 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls


Ending the insane war on stupidity, I mean drugs :^)

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I believe this is a great, untapped segment of voters for Dr. P

I know Dr. P and many others abhor drug use - but weed is so much less destructive to the user and those around him than alcohol, and really does help so many medical patients. If it was decriminalized, related crime would drop significantly. Portugal legalized all drugs a decade ago, and the results are stunning. The State of Pennsylvania stopped prosecuting weed smokers and have already saved $2 million in one year. Just free da weed!

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. ~J. Swift

'Record-High' pun, LOL

bu-bump {rimshot}



The standard for taking away freedom should be

very high.

When people are on trial for a serious crime, we demand that the jury reach an unanimous verdict before we take away the freedom of the person on trial. The reason is to prevent injustice, and because we value freedom highly.

There are many acts of aggression to prohibit by law that have a very high consensus. You will find very few people who think rape, armed robbery, or burglary should be legal.

Whenever there is widespread disagreement on issues, we should never create laws that prohibit and punish, both on moral grounds and on practical grounds. Making illegal something that has widespread support creates widespread disobedience of that law. It creates contempt for those who enforce that law and makes easy the corruption of the enforcers since many of them disagree themselves with the law.

So if we want to have a just and equitable society, we should avoid making things with widespread support against the law. This applies to marijuana and other drugs, prostitution, gambling, and abortion to name a few. It is not that we approve of these activities, but that making them illegal causes more harm than good.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

Well the good thing about that is

Pretty soon we won't be able to afford all those Narcs and our amazing plant will be a GREAT LOCAL CURRENCY.

$300 an ounce might not compare with the overinflated prices of gold right now BUT when SHTF just wait and see what a zip of top shelf can get.

Why are people so scared of this plant? It is like having people running around still believing in santa clause and never growing up enough to educate themselves to the realization of what is REAL and what is propped up fake B.S.

http://shelfsufficient.com - My site on getting my little family prepped for whatever might come our way.

http://growing-elite-marijuana.com - My site on growing marijuana

Pot Prohibition costs too much

Just think of how much we have to fork over to keep it illegal. Are we getting what we are paying for? Do you really want to keep funding SWAT teams, helicopters, prisons...just to keep people from getting high?

We are forced to pay for the demolition of our liberty.

Super High Me quiz: what were the three memory test items?

As a mocking homage to Super Size Me (where a guy eats fast food everyday for a month), a comedian, Doug Benson, choses to get high every day for a month.

It was actually a pretty decent documentary with plenty of humor.

I can only remember two of the three memory test items and I haven't smoked in 25 years.

But what was funny was that Doug's SAT scores increased during the month that he was high.

Hurry Up!

The US better hurry up and (federally) de-crimianalize marijuana, because my crappy country doesn't do unless it sees. So hurry the hell up before i'm beaten and raped to death in prison for inhaling the smoke of an incinerated flower.

Older folks

Want it legalized as well BUT the ones that I personally know and talk with feel it should be for medical use only. I think the reason behind it is simple, it alters the mind or gives you a head change and they feel that needs a "reason".

My mom is a nurse who agrees with marijuana, my wifes mom and dad had cancer and used marijuana through their treatment to hold food down but they still look at me like some young guy just smoking weed just to do it. I however have my own medical issues BUT I don't look down on recreational use either especially from a plant that creates FAR MORE GOOD than any other medicine I have ever seen since being on this earth.

Marijuana calms the public, try and see how alcohol or anything else does compared to weed.

http://shelfsufficient.com - My site on getting my little family prepped for whatever might come our way.

http://growing-elite-marijuana.com - My site on growing marijuana


In 1972, my high school senior class voted to decriminalize it in California in our mock election. (Their parents did not.)

I guess it takes awhile for ideas to work their way through the generations.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/


I ran away from home, Aiea Hawai'i, where I attended Aiea High School, and we voted the same way. Everyone had pacalolo, but those who did not have friends, and it seemed, all the high schools I visited, From San Diego to Flagstaff/Pheniox Arizona, to Beverly Hills, everyone was smoking weed, listening to Cheech and Chong (I've seen some pictures of Obama, proving Punahou was no different than Aiea. I returned home after four months AWOL and my Dad took orders to New Orleans in Nov, where I found Louisiana High Schools were no different, and everyone knew about the Federal Government growing it in Mississippi. So honestly, I thought it would have been decriminalized by now. NORML wants it legalized, and the problem with legalization of a plant, is it sets a precident. What's next, tomatoes? And now, it's a blood war. I wish the DEA and all this war on drugs jobs would be departments Ron Paul wanted to cut. California has proven it has a lethal army to combat farmers, why do we need federal departments, like the IRS, armed searching for opportunity to kill in the name of the law? Maybe there should be an Occupy Oakland before Oakland becomes the only legal grow center in CA?