A record high 68% of Americans support cannabis legalization, an October Gallup poll finds, up from just 12% support in 1969 when Gallup first asked about legalization, and up from polls taken since 2016 when support averaged at least six in 10.
Conservatives, religious Americans and older individuals are the least likely to support cannabis legalization.
The poll finds majority support in almost every demographic analyzed, with only those who identify as conservative (49%) and who attend church weekly (46%) falling below the 50% mark. Republican voters and those age 65 and older came in just above 50%, at 51% and 53%, respectively.
Meanwhile, those on opposite ends of the religious, ideological, political and age spectrum are the most likely to support cannabis legalization, with those who indicated no religious preference coming it at 89% support, liberals at 84%, Democrats at 81% and those ages 18-29 at 79%.
Adding to the argument that religious preference affects cannabis views, 78% of those who said they seldom or never attend church support cannabis legalization. Among those with lower levels of support, there are some defections from the views of avid churchgoers, with Catholics and Protestants both showing 60% support for legalization, a full 14 percentage points higher than those who attend church regularly. Among those who say they attend church nearly weekly or monthly, support ticks up to 61%.
Strong support also exists among non-Hispanic Black adults (76%), non-married adults (74%), moderate voters (74%), those ages 30-49 (73%), and suburban residents (72%).
Men are more likely to support legalization than women — at 70% support to 65% support.
There is little difference of views based on income level, with those considered upper- or middle-income adults showing 70% support for legalization and lower-income adults at 66%. The poll considered upper-income adults those with a household income of $100,000 or more, while middle-income was at $40,000-$99,999 and lower-income was at less than $40,000.
Those who live in cities are also more likely to support cannabis legalization (67%) than those who live in small towns or rural areas, or in the South (both 65%).
The poll also found differences among subgroups when accounting for other subgroups to which individuals also belong. For example, while conservatives broadly only support legalization at a rate of 49%, a majority of younger conservatives under the age of 50 support legalization while only 32% of older conservatives do.
That trend does not apply as significantly to those who view themselves as moderate or liberal. Among the youngest moderates, those 18-29, 82% support legalization. The numbers get smaller as respondents get older — 78% among those 30-49; 70% among those 50-64; and 62% among those 65 and older — but the differences are far less pronounced.
And it’s even less so among liberals, with 86% support among the youngest adults and 81% among the oldest. That means the percentage gap between the youngest and oldest respondents is 33 points among conservatives, 20 points among moderates and just 5 points among liberals.
Given that broad support exists in most major subgroups, and that age is a major factor in cannabis legalization support, it is likely support will continue to grow “as newer, likely more pro-marijuana, generations replace older generations in the U.S. population,” the poll analysis notes.
The poll was taken among 1,009 American adults Oct. 3-20. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.