Fifty-two percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana, according to aPew Research Center poll released on Thursday. That makes this the first time in four decades — since they started polling on it — that the majority favor legalization. Only 45% say marijuana should not be legal.
Furthermore, we have found the holy grail of elusive bipartisanship on the matter of enforcement. The majority of Democrats and Republicans don’t favor enforcing the federal laws in states where marijuana is legal.
You might think this is just coming from the younger generation. But you’d be wrong. While 65% of those born since 1980 and now are in favor, half of the baby boomers are in favor now. 54% of Gen Xers are in favor, which is another large jump from the 28% of Gen Xers who supported legalization in 1994.
Thirty-two percent think marijuana is morally wrong. Don’t feel bad, it used to be 50% in 2006.
It’s truly the right’s worst nightmare. Gay marriage and immigration reform are high in public approval and now the country is siding with the “hippies” (the right sees everything from the context of the 1950s and 1960s) are winning with pot.
But given the fact that 57% of Republicans and 59% of Democrats think the federal government shouldn’t enforce federal marijuana laws in states where it’s legal, maybe the Republican party is behind their own constituents on this one, too. Republicans don’t favor enforcing the law, but they don’t favor legalization either (sort of like their approach to teenage sex — do it but don’t get caught). Only 37% of Republicans want pot to be legalized. Sixty-four percent of Independents think the law shouldn’t be enforced in states where it’s legal, so that’s a pretty big consensus. Give up the war on pot.
This isn’t likely to matter to your Congress, who are so busy taking money from Exxon et al and killing jobs bills that they don’t have time to do the will of the people. Besides, they have a heavy anti-choice agenda this year — gotta get in their digs before the next election season. But it wouldn’t hurt to let them know that you know that there’s a lot of political will behind legalization, and even more behind not enforcing these rather ridiculous laws.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.