By Michael Blood, Associated Press
(AP) — A growing majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal, underscoring a national shift as more states embrace cannabis for medical or recreational use.
Support for legal marijuana hit 61% in 2018, up from 57% two years ago, according to the General Social Survey, a widely respected trend survey that has been measuring support for legal marijuana since the 1970s.
An analysis of the survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the General Social Survey staff finds that increased backing of legalization cut across all age groups and political parties. The 2018 poll is the first in which a majority of Republicans support legalizing marijuana — 54%, up from 45% in 2016. Among Democrats, 76% now favor legalization.
Support for legalization is strongest among 18-to-34-year-olds, with nearly 75% favoring it. But older Americans are taking a more favorable view, too. 46% of those 65 and older say marijuana should be legal, up from 42% in 2016.
“Our time has come,” said Justin Strekal, political director of NORML. “Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition.”
The rising support mirrors the evolving legal landscape across the country. Most Americans now live in places where marijuana is legal in some form, with 10 states allowing recreational usage and more than 30 allowing medicinal use.