Survey: majority of U.S. adults think marijuana should be legalized

The past 10 years have seen a major shift in the public’s opinion on marijuana. This can be seen in some data from the Pew Research Center.

In a survey from around a decade ago, around 60 percent of the respondents expressed a belief that marijuana should be illegal. Meanwhile, only 32 percent of those surveyed said they felt marijuana should be legalized.

A survey conducted this year yielded much different results. The survey was given between Aug. 23 and Sept. 2. In it, 1,201 American adults were polled. This time, a clear majority of those polled, 57 percent, supported the legalization of marijuana. Meanwhile, the portion of respondents who felt this drug should still be illegal was all the way down to 37 percent.

The survey responses indicate that support for legalizing marijuana is slightly higher among men than among women. But, for both men and women, over half of those surveyed said they felt the drug should be legal.

When the responses are broken down by age group, the general trend is: the younger the generation, the more prevalent support for marijuana legalization is within it. Support for marijuana being made legal was highest among millennials (individuals ages 18 to 35), with 71 percent of them being on the pro-legalization side. Meanwhile, the oldest age group responses were broken into, the silent generation (covering people ages 71 to 88), was the only age group in which less than half of those polled indicated support for legalization.

Given the particularly high support for marijuana legalization among younger adults, one wonders if views on marijuana will be moving even further to the pro-legalization side in the future.

Now, the law can lag quite a bit behind public opinion. While marijuana may be something a majority of the country thinks should be legal and there has been a loosening of marijuana laws in many states, being accused of marijuana possession can still put a person into a very serious legal situation in most of the nation. Here in Wisconsin, significant charges can come out of such accusations. So, a strong defense remains something that can be of major importance for those accused of marijuana possession in the state.

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