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. The survey found that increased backing of legalization cut across all age groups and political parties, the AP reports. 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.
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. The GSS asks about making use of marijuana legal, but does not specify whether it should be legal for recreational or medical use. 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. Among those 65 and older, 46% say marijuana should be legal, up from 42% in 2016. Views on marijuana legalization have shifted dramatically: In the 1973 GSS, just 19% supported legalization. (Most Democratic 2020 candidates support legalizing pot at the federal level.)