Gallup Poll: Support for Legalizing Marijuana Reaches Historic Threshold

Press Release October 16, 2011
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Tony Newman 646-335-5384</p>

For the first time a Gallup poll has found that 50% of Americans support making marijuana legal. The poll indicates that only 46% oppose ending marijuana prohibition.

Public support for making marijuana legal has shifted dramatically in the last two decades, particularly in the last few years. Gallup has been asking Americans since 1970, "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?" Forty years ago support registered at 12%, rose to 28% percent by the late '70s, dipped slightly during the 1980s, and then rose gradually to 36% in 2005.  The past six years, however, have witnessed a dramatic jump in support, with important implications for state and national marijuana policy. Majorities of men, liberals, 18-29 year-olds, moderates, Independents, Democrats, 30-49 year-olds, and voters in Western, Midwestern and Eastern states now support legalizing marijuana.

Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:

"The latest poll results point to the absurdity and even venality of persisting with harsh prohibitionist policies," said Ethan Nadelmann.  "No other law is enforced so harshly and pervasively yet deemed unnecessary by so many Americans.  Spending billions of dollars and arresting over 800,000 people annually for violating marijuana laws now represents not just foolish public policy but also an inappropriate and indecent use of police powers to favor one side of a cultural and political debate."

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

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