Two new polls show ever-increasing support for cannabis legalization in the U.S.

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The latest national polls suggest that support for cannabis legalization in the U.S. is steadily growing. From December 8-11, 2019, phone interviews were conducted by Fox News as part of a national survey into the general public’s view on legal weed. 

A total of 1,000 adults participated in the cannabis survey, which saw 63 percent of respondents back the idea of legalizing “the recreational use of marijuana on a national level.” Meanwhile, 34 percent of respondents said they don’t agree with national legalization.

A separate poll conducted between December 9-11 gleaned the views of 1,744 Americans. A joint effort between NPR and PBS, the Marist poll delivered a similar show of support for recreational cannabis legalization in the U.S.; 62 percent of respondents said legalization would be a “good idea”, whereas 33 believed it would be a “bad idea.” Support was felt from all age groups.

Democrats more likely to support cannabis legalization

The cannabis survey carried out by Marist also clarified responses based on each person’s partisan affiliation; Democrats accounted for 76 percent of supporters and 44 percent were Republicans. As most people would’ve predicted, Trump supporters were less likely to approve of cannabis legalization in the U.S.; 40 percent supported legal weed and 55 percent did not.

The results of both cannabis surveys indicate that support for legalization is steadily climbing in the U.S. In January 2018, when Fox News asked the same question, 59 percent of people said the country ought to legalize cannabis at the federal level. In July 2019, Marist discovered that 63 percent of people surveyed were supporters of the herb.

Signs that the U.S. is inching closer to federal cannabis legalization 

Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level in the United States, but there are certain signs pointing to the possibility of legalization. The vast majority of Democratic 2020 presidential candidates support legalization. Nonetheless, many anti-cannabis politicians could tip the scales in the opposite direction.

Fortunately, progress was made back in November, when a 24-10 vote by the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee led to the passing of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act; a bill that would legalize the plant at the federal level and banish it from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Cannabis stocks soared shortly after, signifying growing interest in this field.

Democrats are set to take control of both congressional chambers in 2020. This, combined with the growing support and acceptance for cannabis in the U.S. as demonstrated in recent polls, indicates that lawmakers may consider a change in cannabis policies sometime in the future.