Over 60 Percent of Americans Believe Marijuana Should Be Legal, Survey Says

Prohibitionists, beware: Support for marijuana legalization has reached a record high among Americans.

According to a study conducted in February by the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 61 percent of the 1,042 adult Americans polled support the legalization of marijuana — the highest percentage ever recorded in such a poll, and up 3 percent from a similar survey in 2013 conducted by Gallup.

Of the adults who support marijuana being legalized, 33 percent believe that it should be legalized with no restrictions, 43 percent believe it should be legalized with limited purchase amounts, and 24 percent believe it should only be legalized for medical purposes.

Comparing this study with past Gallup polls shows a sizable shift in how Americans view marijuana. In 1969, only about 12 percent of Americans supported legalization; fifty years later, in 2009, support sat at 44 percent. 

Although conducted by a different polling group, the AP study indicates that the country's views are changing regarding the federally illegal substance — but not drug use overall. Only 7 percent of respondents said that "other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin," should also be legalized.

Investors are also taking note of marijuana's rising support, according to Marijuana Business Daily. The marijuana industry data service estimates that the legal pot industry will be worth up to $44 billion annually by 2020.

As one of just three states to sell recreational marijuana, Colorado has a featured role in this heady social experiment and continues to reap the financial benefits, according to the Daily, which predicts that medical and recreational marijuana sales will combine to bring in over $1 billion in Colorado this year.

"It's no surprise that support continues to rise, since people have had a chance to actually see marijuana legalization in action in Colorado for almost two years," Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell wrote in an e-mail to Westword last October. "It's no longer just a theoretical debate, and we've got real evidence. We're now able to point to what is happening in Denver and prove that what we said would happen is true and that our opponents' fears were unfounded."

Recreational marijuana is legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, D.C.; medical marijuana is legal in various forms in 23 states and Washington, D.C.

Keep reading for marijuana events:

The law offices of Vicente Sederberg (1255 Grant Street) will host a welcoming reception and fundraiser for Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday,  March 28.

Rigs 4 Us, at 5912 East Colfax Avenue, will celebrate its first anniversary on Friday, April 1, with a house party that includes dabs and DJs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 720-390-6690.

One of the biggest hemp-centric trade shows in the country returns to Loveland on Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, when the NoCo Hemp Expo takes place at the Ranch Events Complex. Featuring over 100 vendors, more than fifty keynote speakers, state legislators, live entertainment, an investor summit and more, this extensive conference will cover all things hemp, and then some. The first day is for business-to-business attendees only, but all ages are welcome to attend the expo day and its festivities on Saturday. Tickets are $15 for general admission.
The Women's Cannabis Chamber of Commerce will continue its series of Entrepreneur Boot Camp classes with a course on social media and online marketing on Monday, April 4, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.. For $89, attendees will learn how to use social media and online marketing to effectively boost the profile of a cannabis business. Class location will be shared upon registration and includes a light dinner.

Women Grow will host a networking event on Thursday, April 7, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Highland City Club in Boulder. Attendees will meet other entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry while enjoying refreshments and a keynote address from Women Grow's Jane West. Early-bird tickets are $20 but go up to $25 after April 3.

Know of an event that should be in the Cannabis Calendar? Send it to [email protected]
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for
Contact: Thomas Mitchell