CBS NEWS POLL For release: Thursday, January 23, 2014 7:00 am EST For the First Time, Most Americans Think Marijuana Use Should be Legal
January 17-21, 2013 51% of Americans now think marijuana use should be made legal, the first time a majority has supported that in the CBS News Poll. Support for legalized marijuana use has risen among nearly all demographic groups since April 2013, but Republicans and conservatives remain opposed. 86% think doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana for serious medical illnesses, though 56% of Americans do not think most of the medical marijuana purchased through state programs is being used for that reason. 62% of Americans think the laws regarding marijuana use should be decided at the state level. 54% of those who oppose making marijuana use legal agree. For the first time since the CBS News Poll began asking the question, a slight majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana use. 51% say they think the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 44% do not. Public opinion on this issue has changed dramatically over the past few years: in October 2011 a slight majority opposed making marijuana use legal, and as recently as April 2013 public opinion was divided on this issue.
Should Marijuana Use be Legal?
Now 4/2013 11/2012 10/2011 7/2009 7/1979 Yes 51% 45% 47% 40% 41% 27% No 44 45 47 51 52 69
Making Marijuana Legal: The Demographics
Views that marijuana use should be made legal have risen across nearly every demographic group since April 2013: Support for legalizing marijuana use has grown among Americans under 44, and now most Americans 45 to 64 think marijuana should be legal (in April this age group was divided.). The only age group that still opposes legalizing marijuana use is seniors 65 and older. Support has increased among both men and women, but there remains a gender gap. Most men (57%) think marijuana use should be made legal, while fewer women (46%) think so. Most Democrats (59%), independents (54%), liberals (72%), and moderates (54%), support legalizing marijuana use.