Startling trend: Marijuana legalization support doubled since 2000

By David Sivak

The American Prospect tweeted Monday that support for legalized marijuana has doubled in the last two decades.

“Since 2000, the number of Americans supporting legalization has doubled from around 30 percent to well over 60 percent,” reads the tweet.

Verdict: True

Polls show that six in 10 Americans support marijuana legalization, up from about 30 percent in 2000.

Fact Check:

The tweet linked to an article by The Prospect that declared the federal ban on marijuana to be on “borrowed time.”

The magazine cited examples of politicians who now support legalization, including former GOP House Speaker John Boehner, who recently joined the board of a marijuana company, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who just announced legislation that would decriminalize the drug.

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine for a first time possession offense.

RELATED: In Colorado, nearly 70 percent of marijuana consumers have driven high in the past year

The Prospect argues that public opinion has led many politicians on the left to come out in favor of decriminalization. “As politicians usually do, Democrats are chasing public opinion,” reads the article.

Only 16 percent of Americans supported legal marijuana use in 1990, according to Pew Research. Support rose to 31 percent in 2000, and now 61 percent of Americans believe the use of marijuana should be made legal.

Gallup has similarly found that support for legalization has doubled to 64 percent since 2000.

Younger Americans, Democrats and independents are more likely to favor legalization. “As in the past, there are wide generational and partisan differences in views of marijuana legalization,” says Pew Research.

Seventy percent of Millenials told Pew they supported legalization, while only 56 percent of Baby Boomers expressed support.

Likewise, 69 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents believe in legal marijuana use, while only 43 percent of Republicans feel the same way.

Quinnipiac found that support among all Americans rises to 91 percent for medicinal use. And 79 percent of the public views alcohol consumption as more or equally harmful to one’s health as marijuana, according to CBS News.

The same poll showed that half of all Americans have tried marijuana.

California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in 1996; over the years, another 28 states followed suit, and today, nine states have legalized recreational use as well.

The Obama administration issued guidance in 2013 that essentially spared these states from federal interference, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has taken a hard stance on marijuana use, reversed those guidelines in January.

Sessions told an audience in March that the Department of Justice will continue to focus on violations by drug cartels and major distribution networks rather than prosecute small-time cases.

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Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Chmee2
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8 thoughts on “Startling trend: Marijuana legalization support doubled since 2000

  1. Sadly, this momentum is based on subjective attitudes. There’s lots of folks who knew marijuana in their college days that are now in their 60’s and 70’s and they carry fond memories of …

    Today’s marijuana is 10-20 times stronger than it was and now there’s dabs, butters, and waxes that can provide almost 100% THC. This brings with it increased dangers.

    Vermont’s NAMI groups can tell stories of those who have learned a side effect for some can be a lifetime impaired with schizophrenia.

    Today’s marijuana can be mixed with more dangerous drugs, such as fentanyl, so it can be impure and who knows what you are really getting.

    Colorado has lessons for everyone to learn from. The video Marijuana X is documentaries from their Attorney General, Police Chiefs, ER doctors, psychiatric doctors, human service leaders and more. It has recently been released to youtube. Google for it on youtube or go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mFglI7KEpI

    • “Today’s marijuana can be mixed with more dangerous drugs, such as fentanyl, so it can be impure and who knows what you are really getting.”

      And why can cannabis be mixed with fentanyl? Is it because it’s illegal and not regulated, there are no standards on the black market.

      It’s like you are making a case for legalization; dabs and oil are condensed and easier to transport than plant matter, which is a much heavier and bigger product.

    • ‘Today’s marijuana can be mixed with more dangerous drugs, such as fentanyl, so it can be impure and who knows what you are really getting. ‘

      Thats why we need to grow our own – that we we know its fully organic with no added chemicals

  2. MOST FOLKS TO NOT WANT LEGALIZATION, THEY WANT DECRIMINALIZATION .. IMPORTANT CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE; “support for legalization fell to 40% when given the choice of decriminalization, medical marijuana, or the full legalization of marijuana” –
    (December 4, 2017 – New York, NY) – A new poll conducted by Emerson College, the same college that conducted a poll for pro-marijuana groups Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) last week, found that support for legalization fell to 40% when given the choice of decriminalization, medical marijuana, or the full legalization of marijuana. This clarifies the poll conducted by MPP and DPA finding 60% support when simply given the choice of legalization or prohibition.

    • All prohibition has done is increased the Mexican Cartel’s profit margins. Contrary to your BULLSH*T polls, most people DO support legalization. Its time we stopped ruining peoples lives over an extremely beneficial PLANT that God gave us. Its NONE of the governments business what we choose to consume. Its time government got out of the business of telling us what we can and can not do with our own body’s.

  3. This is no surprise that the the number of Americans ” supporting ” legalization has doubled
    from around 30 percent to well over 60 percent !!

    It’s all the millennials, that still haven’t got over that there Hero Bernie and Queen Hillary both
    loser’s in the last election, they need some sort of stimulation to get then through .

    It will help them when they get out into the real world and find out that there are not all that
    ” special ” like they have been told there entire life, we all know snowflakes will melt !!

    • Your views do not reflect the views of the rest of the country. That and its not just millennials who would rather use cannabis at the end of the day rather than alcohol to unwind. I am 52 with 2 college degrees and my own business, and I fully support the movement to fully LEGALIZE cannabis

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