This year, the annual 420 day brought about some interesting events across the country. From gatherings in San Francisco and other cities to handing out free joints in Washington D.C.
But nothing proved more telling about the state of marijuana in the United States than a new poll done by CBS News.
Support for Legal Marijuana: All Time High
The poll, released on April 20th, found that the percentage of Americans in support of legalizing marijuana sharply increased in the last year. In fact, it’s the highest it’s ever been.
In a five point percentage increase from 2016, the survey found that 61 percent of Americans think marijuana use should be legal. Also, a staggering 88 percent think that medical marijuana should be legal.
CBS also provided numbers showing the changing attitude toward marijuana over time.
The number of people that have shown support for legal marijuana increased every year since 2013, according to CBS. Back in 1979, only 27 percent of those surveyed said marijuana should be legal. That number jumped to 40 percent in 2011 and, starting in 2014, a majority (51 percent that year) approved marijuana legalization.
Other Survey Findings
The survey also asked for more detailed views about marijuana, including the recent comments by members of President Donald’s Trump’s administration that indicate the new leaders in Washington D.C. might oppose the state laws that have made marijuana legal.
The other findings included:
- 71 percent oppose any federal government action to interfere in states that have made marijuana legal, both recreationally and for medical use
- A majority of Democrats (76 percent), independents (72 percent) and Republicans (63 percent) oppose any federal actions against states where marijuana is legal
- 65 percent think marijuana is less dangerous than other drugs
- Only 23 percent think that using marijuana opens the door for an increase in violent crime
- 69 percent said they think drug abuse should not be treated as a criminal offense, but rather as an addiction and mental health issue.
- Women are now as much in favor of legalization as men are – they had offered less support than men in previous years
Medical marijuana is now legal in more than half the U.S. states. Recreational marijuana is legal in eight states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, plus the District of Columbia.
It’s a Generational Thing
When separated by age group, the poll showed that only the group over 65 did not support legalization. In that group, 37 percent supported legalization.
Among those ages 55 to 64, that support grew to 60 percent. For those ages 45 to 54 and 35 to 44, 62 percent supported legalization in both age groups. That numbers leapt to 76 percent for those ages 18 to 34.
CBS conducted the poll in April, surveying a random sample of 1,011 adults across the country.