Respected polling-firm Gallup reports that for the first time, half of all Americans support legalizing marijuana use. Fifty-percent of all Americans favor legalization; that’s a huge jump from forty years ago. The ongoing trend is also clear: younger Americans are more likely to support, and senior citizens more likely to oppose, legalization.
In another twenty years’ time, proponents will probably be an even larger share of the public.
I don’t smoke, and most of those who favor some kind of legalization don’t smoke either. (The poll numbers are much too high for everyone favoring to also be smoking pot.) Fully one-third of conservatives and Republicans favor legalization, and even three-in-ten senior citizens do.
Why does a majority, most of whom are certainly non-smokers, favor legalization? I’ve no single answer, but one can guess one reason is that the amount of time and money poured into marijuana prohibition no longer seems reasonable. (After all, in was National Review in 1996 that came out against the entire Drug War.)
Gallup’s poll won’t end the debate about marijuana legalization, but the trends the poll captures will eventually lead to a change in policy: those favoring continuing criminalization are an ever-smaller group.