Breakthrough Pew Poll: Marijuana Legalization Wins Majority Support Nationwide

Press Release April 3, 2013
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Tony Newman: 646-335-5384</p>

For the first time in more than four decades of polling by the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans supports the legal regulation of marijuana. According to the nationwide poll of 1,500 Americans, 52% back marijuana legalization, reflecting majorities of Democrats, independents and liberal and moderate Republicans almost uniformly across every region of the country. Majorities of Americans no longer consider marijuana consumption immoral, nor do they consider marijuana to represent a “gateway” to other illicit substances. Moreover, a super-majority of respondents — 72% — say the federal government’s efforts against marijuana “cost more than they are worth.”

“I’ve always tended to be cautious in claiming that we’ve hit the ‘tipping point’ on marijuana legalization,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “But we’re there now. And I’d say we’re trailing marriage equality by just a half-step, even if far fewer elected officials are willing to join publicly with us as yet.”

Last November Colorado and Washington became the first jurisdictions in the world to legalize adult use of marijuana, each state adopting a ballot initiative with at least 55% support. The Obama administration has not yet clarified federal policy in light of these new laws. Attorney General Eric Holder has indicated a statement from the Department of Justice is imminent. A number of recent polls has found majorities of Americans across the ideological spectrum favor allowing states that have legalized marijuana to implement those laws without interference from the federal government.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

Sign up for updates from DPA.