Cheyenne Fox attaches radio frequency tracking tags, required by law, to maturing pot plants inside a grow house, at 3D Cannabis Center, in Denver, Dec. 31, 2013.
Brennan Linsley/AP

Legal marijuana support in America soars


A majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, a new poll found.

In a new CNN/ORC International poll, 55% of Americans said they believed pot use should be legalized.

It’s a complete flip of public opinion. In 1987, just 16% of Americans felt the same way according to General Social Survey polling; support has risen over the last 27 years. Two years ago, 43% supported legalizing pot.

Predictably, younger people have pushed approval numbers for the substance up. While two thirds of those under 34 said they supported legalized marijuana, just 39% of those over 65 said they felt pot should be legal.

More and more states have proposed motions to legalize or decriminalize pot for medical or recreational use. Twenty states have medical marijuana rules on the books and this year, Colorado began selling recreational marijuana to consumers. The demand has been so high that pot shops are selling out just days after opening.

New York state announced recently that it would become the 21st state to legalize medical marijuana. The decision won’t have to go through the legislature thanks to an obscure nineteenth century law regulating medical marijuana use as dispensed by the state. The legislative loophole makes the loosened law a particularly interesting test case, since New York state will be growing and managing its own weed stores.

As more states start allowing patients use of the substance, moral outrage against pot use is also down.

Just 35% say smoking pot is morally wrong, down from 1987’s finding that 70% of Americans thought the same.

Just 19% see pot use as a serious problem for the country; forty years ago, two thirds of Americans said the same.  

The poll was taken from January 3-5th and surveyed 1,010 adults by telephone. The sample error is plus or minus 3 points.

The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, 1/6/14, 11:19 PM ET

Pot luck! A Colorado shop with weed in stock

Lawrence O’Donnell talks to Colorado pot shop owner Robin Hackett about marijuana sales. The Denver Post’s John Ingold also joins the discussion.

Drug Policy and Drugs

Legal marijuana support in America soars