Come November, five states will vote on marijuana legalization, which could provide access to legal weed for almost a quarter of the population. Ahead of this pivotal vote, new data from the Pew Research Center shows that 57 percent of American voters favor legalizing cannabis.
The data show there was a marked change in how the country perceived legalization in 2012 — the year that Colorado and Washington passed ballot measures to legalize adult use.
“Legalization is polling much better than either presidential candidate, and politicians should do more to appeal to this growing constituency,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, in a statement.
Indeed, various publications have surmised that an endorsement of legalization could help Hillary Clinton’s campaign with the millennial vote. The rise in support for legalization is largely driven by young people: 71 percent of millennials support legalization. Young adults are twice as likely as other age groups to support legalization, although a majority of Gen-Xers and boomers (57 and 56 percent, respectively) also support the policy.
While Republicans are historically been against drug policy reform, 63 percent of moderate and liberal Republicans favor legalizing marijuana. Only 33 percent of conservative Republicans agree with their more moderate counterparts.
“No matter what happens in November, we know that a growing majority of Americans support ending cannabis prohibition, and the next president and Congress need to make it a priority to finally end outdated federal prohibition laws that stand in the way of full and effective implementation of state policies,” said Angell.