Slightly over a majority of Americans—58 percent—favor legalizing marijuana, according to a new Gallup poll.
Poll numbers in support of legalization remain high as more states legalize the drug and the federal government backs away from cracking down on medical marijuana providers in states where the drug is no longer prohibited. Currently, four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana. Ohio may be next. The state decides on a ballot initiative Nov. 3.
A previous poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group in March found 61 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, but the margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, meaning that it’s not clear whether poll results from earlier this year represent a genuine record high. (RELATED: Poll: 61 Percent Of Americans Want Marijuana Legalization, Smashing Previous Records)
With few dips, the trend recorded by Gallup has moved upward since 1969, when just 12 percent of Americans responded in favor of legalization.
In 2000, that number moved to 30 percent. By 2009, 40 percent supported legalization. Since 2013, support has bumped above the 50 percent level.
Consistent with previous results, younger Americans display the most open attitudes to legalization. A total of 71 percent of Americans in the 18-34 age range approve of marijuana legalization. This number progressively declines as age increases. The age range of 35-49 sees support drop to 64 percent. In fact, the only group which doesn’t approve of marijuana legalization by a majority is the 65+ age bracket, which records only 35 percent in favor.
But like all other age categories, senior citizens have become more tolerant of the drug. In 1969, the year the survey was first recorded, only 4 percent of seniors approved of marijuana legalization.
“These days it’s not especially exciting to see yet another poll showing majority support for legalizing marijuana, but 58 percent is very strong share of the American people calling for change, and elected officials should listen,” Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The constant stream of surveys showing public support for ending prohibition is why we’re seeing an increasing number of national politicians saying that it’s time to at least let states implement their own laws without federal interference.”
The most recent poll by Gallup was conducted from Oct. 7-11 with a nationally representative sample size of 1,015 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.