by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
“Nearly six out of ten Americans support legalizing cannabis, according to a just released Public Policy Polling automated telephone survey of 1,325 voters.
58 percent of respondents said that marijuana ‘should be legal.’ Only 34 percent of respondents opposed the notion of legalizing cannabis. A solid plurality of voters (47 percent of respondents versus 33 percent) also said that the federal government should not interfere with newly passed marijuana legalization measures in Colorado and Washington.
Male respondents endorsed legalization by a greater margin than women. 62 percent of men backed legalization; 54 percent of female respondents endorsed legalizing marijuana.
A majority of self-identified Democrats and Independents backed legalization (68 percent and 59 percent respectively), while a majority of Republicans failed to do so (42 percent).
Respondents were nearly equally divided on the question of whether they believed cannabis to be safer than alcohol. Forty-five percent of respondents agreed with the premise, while 42 percent disagreed.
The survey results are similar to those reported last week by Angus Reid that found that 54 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana. Sixty-six percent of those polled by Angus Reid said that they anticipate that cannabis will be legalized within the next ten years.
An October 2012 poll by YouGov and the Huffington Post reported that 59 percent of Americans favor legalization. By contrast, separate polls in recent weeks by CBS News and The Washington Post/ABC News have indicated weaker support for legalization, particularly among older voters.
Nonetheless, the overall polling data indicates that a greater percentage of Americans today back legalizing marijuana than at any prior time in modern history.”