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Political Analyst – Derek Thomas
The tide of positive marijuana opinions continue to change across the world and right here in the United States. The past few months have seen sweeping legislative and cultural shifts favoring marijuana across Europe, North America, and South America.
And the good news keeps rolling in, especially for marijuana advocates in the United States.
A record 60% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. According to the latest Gallup Poll data. The poll asked over 1,000 respondents "Should marijuana use be made legal, or not?"
Digging into the poll shows increases in support for marijuana legalization across the board, including increases across age, race, gender, and political demographics. Perhaps the most riveting increase is the overall increase over the last decade: 35% of adults in favor of legalization in 2005, to 64% in 2017.
For the first time the poll revealed that the majority of Republicans support marijuana legalization, with 51% indicating that they'd like to see the end of federal prohibition. When the question was polled last year, only 43% of Republicans indicated they were in favor of legalization.
Gallup notes that legalization now shares equal support to gay marriage.
Pew Research conducted a similar poll earlier in 2016, which came to similar results: 57% of Americans over 18 favor outright marijuana legalization. Gallup conducted the same poll in 2016 and found 60% of respondents were in favor of outright legalization, meaning another 4% have come into the fold over the last year.
This leaves little doubt that well over the majority of the country supports outright legalization of marijuana. The other 40% are all probably residing in Washington DC.
Over half of the US population lives in a state that has already legalized some form of marijuana use — recreation, medicinal, or both.
Marijuana advocates are of course celebrating the news.
"Marijuana legalization is far more popular than Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump and will survive them both," Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement.
"Instead of wasting limited law enforcement resources trying to stop successful state-level legalization initiatives, US officials should listen to the clear, bipartisan message the public is sending them, and support federal marijuana reform as well," she added.
My favorite point made by supporters comes from Tom Angell of Marijuana Minority. Tom told Business Insider “that it would be "politically disastrous," for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to initiate a crackdown on state-legal marijuana businesses.”
"Despite threatening rhetoric from some Trump administration officials, Americans' support for regulating marijuana like alcohol only continues to rise year over year," Angell added.