Gallup Reports Growing Support for Cannabis Legalization Ahead of House Vote
Nearly 70% of Americans support federal cannabis legalization, according to a new Gallup poll.
On Monday, the analytics and polling firm shared the results of its annual crime survey, which was conducted between September 30, 2020 and October 15, 2020.
In telephone interviews with 1,035 adults (18+), Gallup found that 68% of Americans were in favor of legalizing cannabis.
According to Gallup, the figure is “not statistically different” from last year’s result of 66%, but it is the “highest reading” the firm has ever recorded on the issue of cannabis legalization.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans favor ending the failed policies of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a policy of legalization, regulation, taxation, and public education,” NORML executive director Erik Altieri said via a statement.
Why it matters: One-third of Americans now live in states that permit the sale of adult-use cannabis to adults over the age of 21. Last week, voters in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota approved ballot measures legalizing recreational or medical marijuana.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives is preparing to vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in December, according to Politico.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) wrote to colleagues on Monday and said the bill — which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and was originally scheduled to reach the House floor in September — will receive a vote during the lame-duck session next month.
“The House will vote on the MORE Act to decriminalize cannabis and expunge convictions for nonviolent cannabis offenses that have prevented many Americans from getting jobs, applying for credit and loans, and accessing opportunities that make it possible to get ahead in our economy,” he wrote.
By the numbers: Public support of marijuana legalization has been steadily growing since Gallup first asked Americans about the issue in 1969. That year, just 12% of U.S. adults were in favor of cannabis legalization. Over the last 50 years, however, public support has steadily risen to 68%.
- Among male respondents, 69% believe cannabis should be made legal (compared to 66% of women).
- Younger adults are most in favor of legal weed: 79% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 support cannabis legalization, a slight dip from the 81% who said they were in favor last year.
- Liberals are more likely to support cannabis legalization: 83% of Democrats believe pot should be made legal, up from 76% who supported legalization efforts last year. Only 48% of Republicans support legalization, down from 51% in 2019.
- Those with higher incomes believe cannabis should be made legal: 74% of individuals living in households with incomes of $100,000 or more support legalization.
- Meanwhile, 76% of college graduates are in favor of legal cannabis.
The big picture: 15 U.S. states and Washington D.C. have approved adult-use cannabis, while 36 states allow medical marijuana.
Legalization in New Jersey is expected to cause a “domino effect” of legalization throughout the Northeast. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont have all hinted at possible reforms in 2021.
Similarly, with adult-use sales set to begin in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas lawmakers could move to update their own cannabis laws. That effort is already underway in Texas, where several cannabis bills have been pre-filed ahead of the 2021 legislative session.
According to the 2020 Marijuana Business Factbook, published by Marijuana Business Daily, the cannabis industry is expected to boast as many as 575,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2024. Over the next four years, the industry is expected to add nearly 250,000 FTE positions.
Meanwhile, recreational and medical cannabis sales are expected to surpass $15 billion in 2020.