Record High: 58% of Americans Say Re-Legalize Marijuana

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(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 18, No. 21 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

A historic new Gallup poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans now want to re-legalize marijuana.

Fully 58% of voting-age Americans support re-legalizing marijuana — up fully 10% in just one year. Only 39% are opposed.

In recent issues we have reported on the fast-growing support for marijuana re-legalization, as indicated by polls.

But this new poll is a breakthrough. Gallup notes: “now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized.”

Further, demographics are on the side of liberty on this issue. The strongest support for re-legalization comes from Americans aged 18 to 29 — a whopping 67% are for it.

Gallup: “It is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States.”

Longtime advocates of re-legalization were elated by the poll.

“Legalization is now the mainstream position and supporters of perpetuating our war on marijuana will continue to be further relegated to the fringe,” declared NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri. “The American people… see that a new approach to marijuana policy is both required and possible.”

“Marijuana prohibition has been an abject failure,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Most Americans realize it is unjust, wasteful, and counterproductive to invest in the criminalization of adults for using a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol.”

To put this poll in perspective, the first time Gallup surveyed this question in 1969 only 12% of Americans were in favor of re-legalization.

Gallup notes that the growing support for re-legalization parallels support for another libertarian cause.

“The movement to legalize marijuana mirrors the relatively recent success of the movement to legalize gay marriage, which voters have also approved now in 14 states,” says Gallup. “Public support for gay marriage, which Americans also overwhelmingly opposed in the past, has increased dramatically, reaching majority support in the last two years,”

The Berlin Wall of marijuana prohibition is fast crumbling. Libertarians should be greatly encouraged by this. It shows that bold libertarian political change is possible in a relatively short time, even on such a controversial issue. It also indicates that demographics are on our side on important related issues.

in Liberator Online Archives by James W. Harris Comments are off
About the author: James W. Harris

James W. Harris is the editor of the Liberator Online. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, and he has been a Finalist for the Mencken Awards, given by the Free Press Association for "Outstanding Journalism in Support of Liberty."