Support for legalizing marijuana has been gaining in the United States over the past 30 years. It is finally well above the majority threshold. That is extraordinary considering just a decade ago, less than 40 percent of Americans supported the idea, and only 25 percent of Republicans were in favor.
Much has changed, and quickly. Colorado and Washington led the way with legalizing recreational marijuana statewide. Contrary to opponents’ claims, the sky didn’t fall. In fact, both states reaped the benefits that supporters of legalization had said were possible.
Fortunately, the rest of the country was paying attention to those experiments. Now, for the first time ever, a majority of Republicans support legalizing marijuana.
51% of Republicans support legalizing marijuana
Gallup has been polling Americans on their views on marijuana legalization for nearly half a century. While the trend line did peak in the 1970s, it flatlined and stayed constant for the next 30 years.
Only in the 2000s did Americans views towards marijuana legalization begin to change in favor of legalization. Even then, it was mainly Democrats and Independents who started to evolve. Republicans lagged 20 points behind Democrats nearly every year.
That gulf between the two parties is still visible today. While a majority of Republicans support legalizing marijuana, nearly three quarters of Democrats feel the same, or 72 percent.
64% of Americans want recreational marijuana to be legalized
Republicans crossing the majority threshold was just one part of the Gallup poll results. The firm also found that support for marijuana legalization reached a new all-time high at 64 percent. That’s up four points from last year.
And just 15 years ago, only one-third of Americans supported legalizing marijuana.
If this trendline continues, it’s easy to see that number jumping another few points every year. Nearly two-thirds of the American public support legalizing marijuana. It’s possible that number could be at three quarters in just a few short years.