Public opinion swings toward legalization of marijuana

Posted on Oct 24, 2013

 For the first time since Gallup started asking Americans whether marijuana should be legalized, a clear majority says yes. A poll taken earlier this month by the trusted polling group showed 58 percent of Americans want weed legalized, according to this report. That compares with just 12 percent in 1969.The success legalization advocates had at the ballot box in Colorado and Washington this past year may be making more people tolerant of legalization. Support for the idea has increased 10 percentage points since last November, the report says.

Independent voters are responsible for most of that increase. Some 62 percent of independents now say pot should be legalized, which is up 12 percentage points from November 2012. Meanwhile, there was little change in the percentage of Republicans and Democrats who support legalization, according to the report. This most recent poll showed 35 percent of Republicans favor legalization, versus 65 percent of Democrats.

The only age group that still disfavors legalization is people age 65 and older. Even so, support among people in that age group has increased to 45 percent, a 14 percentage-point gain since 2011. In comparison, some 67 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 favor legalization.

A couple of these statistics are surprising - at least to me. One is that 45 percent of the age group over 65 favor legalization. I would have thought it was still a pretty small percentage. The other is the 18-29 age group - I would have expected it to more than 67 percent.

Marijuana is still not legal in Texas, and I think we are still several years away from that. So until, it's still illegal, and you can still go to jail if you're arrested.