Legalizing Marijuana Has Strong Support From Republicans For The First Time Ever

October 25, 2017, 7:18 PM UTC

More Americans than ever support legalizing marijuana, according to the most recent Gallup poll. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it was also true in 2016 and 2013 as public opinion on the issue has been rising at a steady clip.

The number of respondents who said they support the legalization of marijuana hit 64% this week, up from 60% in 2016. The rate of support among Americans has grown tremendously since 1969, when the polling firm first asked about legalizing marijuana. That year only 12% of poll takers were in favor.

For the first time since that 1969 poll, a majority of Republican voters told Gallup they are in favor of legalizing marijuana. A majority of Democrats have supported legalization since 2009 and independents first saw majority support for the issue in 2010.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but states have been taking the matter into their own hands and voting to approve sales of medical and recreational cannabis. Eight out of nine marijuana-related ballot measures were approved during the November 2016 election.

Even cities in red states, where until recently marijuana legalization appeared to have very little support, are passing laws to make sure fewer people are prosecuted for weed-related violations. Atlanta was the latest city in a red state to decriminalize pot.

The latest poll also shows that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is out of line with the rest of his party in his staunch opposition to marijuana. His stance on the substance leaves a lot of uncertainty in an industry that could be worth $50 billion by 2026.