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Ear to the Ground

Poll Finds Majority of Americans Support Legalizing Pot

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Posted on Jan 7, 2014
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Wikimedia Commons / Bogdan

The so-called gateway drug is getting some respect: Echoing results from a Gallup poll taken in October, a CNN/ORC International survey found this week that 55 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana—and they’re not so inclined to moralize about it either. 

The results, released Monday, suggest that attitudes about pot have changed considerably since the ’70s, although some from that generation still show signs that the anti-marijuana messages of that era hit home, as CNN noted that day:

According to the CNN poll and numbers from General Social Survey polling, support for legalizing marijuana has steadily soared over the past quarter century - from 16% in 1987 to 26% in 1996, 34% in 2002, and 43% two years ago.

The survey found interesting divides on the issue.

“There are big differences on age, region, party ID, and gender, with senior citizens, Republicans, and Southerners the only major demographic groups who still oppose the legal use of pot,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Two-thirds of those 18 to 34 said marijuana should be legal, with 64% of those 34 to 49 in agreement.

Half of those 50 to 64 believe marijuana should be legal, but that number dropped to 39% for those age 65 and older.

 

And, as Colorado and Washington state have demonstrated, Americans looking to light up don’t necessarily have to cite chronic disease or pain problems to justify their use.

That said, 47 percent in the poll still held the “gateway drug” belief, suggesting endless marketing possibilities for a nationwide rebranding campaign.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

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