For the first time ever, the General Social Survey (GSS) shows that the majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana.
The GSS is a national public survey that is conducted every two years and is a respected source of public opinion research. In-person interviews were conducted between March and October of last year in which 1,687 respondents were asked, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?”
52 percent were in favor, 42 percent opposed, and seven percent were undecided. Support was up nine percentage points from the last time the survey was conducted in 2012.
The GSS has tracked public opinion on marijuana for 40 years now, showing that support rose during the 1970s only to plummet again during the Reagan administration and the dawn of the “War on Drugs.” It has been climbing steadily again since the 1990s, with a significant spike in support occurring over the last decade.
The findings of this most recent GSS are in keeping with other public opinion polls, such as the most recent Gallup poll, which also shows a majority of Americans – 51 percent – in support of legalization. This poll was conducted October 12-15 of last year, surveying 1,017 adults over the age of 18 by telephone.
In a statement reported by Yahoo News, Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project, said Americans are tired of laws that punish adults for enjoying a substance that has been shown to be safer than alcohol.
“Hopefully their elected officials are paying attention and preparing for the inevitable,” Fox said. “The failures of marijuana prohibition are too obvious to ignore forever, which is evidenced by the growing support for ending it.”