For Immediate Release: Gallup: Record Percentage of Americans Say “Marijuana Should Be Made Legal”

November 09, 2020

For Immediate Release


Gallup: Record Percentage of Americans Say “Marijuana Should Be Made Legal”

Nearly seven-in-ten Americans support legalizing the possession and use of marijuana by adults, according to nationwide polling data compiled and reported by Gallup.

“In national polls and at the ballot box, the American public has spoken loudly and clearly,” NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “The overwhelming majority of Americans favor ending the failed policies of marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a policy of legalization, regulation, taxation, and public education. Elected officials — at both the state and federal level — ought to be listening.”

Sixty-eight percent of respondents endorse legalization — the highest percentage of support ever reported in a national Gallup poll. In 1969, when Gallup first began surveying the question, only twelve percent of Americans backed marijuana legalization. In 1996, when California voters became the first state in the nation to legalize cannabis for medical use, only 25 percent of Americans said that marijuana should be legal for those ages 21 and older. Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for adults, public support for legalization has risen nationally some 20 percentage points. Legalization has enjoyed majority support among Americans since 2013.

Today, adult-use legalization holds majority support among Americans in every age group, including those ages 65 and older (55 percent), according to Gallup. By contrast, only 48 percent of Republicans endorsed legalization, a drop in support from past years. Eighty-three percent of Democrats and 72 percent of Independents say that “marijuana should be made legal.”

The poll results come just days after voters in four states: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota overwhelmingly decided in favor of statewide ballot measures legalizing the adult use and retail sale of the plant.

Fifteen states (and the District of Columbia) have either enacted or have voted to enact adult-use legalization laws, while 36 states (and DC) have either enacted or have voted to enact medical marijuana access laws.

Altieri added: “There is no buyer’s remorse on the part of the American people. In the era of state-level legalization, voters’ support for this issue has grown rapidly — an indication that these policy changes have been successful and are comporting with voters’ desires and expectations. Today, voters of every age and in virtually every region of the country agree that marijuana should be legal. We have an mandate from the American people and we intend to make sure that elected officials abide by it.”

NORML advocates for changes in public policy so that the responsible possession and use of marijuana by adults is no longer subject to criminal penalties. NORML further advocates for a regulated commercial cannabis market so that activities involving the for-profit production and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products are safe, transparent, consumer-friendly, and are subject to state and/or local licensure. Finally, NORML advocates for additional changes in legal and regulatory policies so that those who use marijuana responsibly are no longer face either social stigma or workplace discrimination, and so that those with past criminal records for marijuana-related violations have the opportunity to have their records automatically expunged.

Find out more at and read our Fact Sheets on the most common misconceptions and myths regarding reform efforts around the country

NORML and The NORML Foundation
1420 K Street, NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20005
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