In the past few years, the attitudes of Americans towards marijuana has been steadily changing. As medical and recreational marijuana continues to get legalized and decriminalized across the country, it still remains technically illegal on a federal level. This seems set to change though as opinions continue to shift in favor of legalization. While it may not be surprising that Democrats and Independents are in favor of the legalization of marijuana, what is surprising is the shift in attitude from Republicans. Historically, they’ve notoriously viewed marijuana as a threat to family values. Now, according to the most recent research, they are coming out in favor of legalizing.
The Narrow Support of Republicans
YouGov released a new poll that shows that a very high percentage of the population now supports legalization. Even more interesting than this are the results that show that more Republicans are now in favor of legalization. Pollster for YouGov Peter Moore explained, “YouGov’s latest research shows that most Americans still support legalization of marijuana and that support for legalization has increased slightly from 52 percent in December 2015 to 55 percent today. Most of this change is a result of changing attitudes among Republicans. In fact, for the first time, Republicans narrowly tend to support legalization, 45 percent to 42 percent.”
Overall Majority Support the Legalization of Weed
The number of people who support legalization now outweighs the number of prohibitionists in every single party across the board. Sixty-three percent of Democrats support the legalization of weed and 25 percent do not. Fifty-five percent of Independents are in favor of it with 33 percent against it. Forty-five percent of Republicans are for legalization and 42 percent are for prohibition. This makes a total of 55 percent of the population for the legalization of weed and only 33 percent still against it, according to the YouGov poll that questioned almost 1,000 U.S citizens.
The Official Stances of the Parties
The Republican Party came out against the legalization of marijuana at a recent convention, stating that their platform would not include any moves towards legalization but rather focus on keeping prohibition intact. Many Republicans present at the meeting argued in favor of marijuana, showing evidence of its medicinal use in helping children suffering from seizures and many others with debilitating conditions. There is abundant evidence that the legalization of weed has not created any issues in states where it is legal. Teen use and family life in general have not been impacted. Nonetheless, despite the arguments from the pro-marijuana Republicans, the party voted in favor of prohibition. This poll may help to shift their official stance.
The Democrats on the other hand, voted to work at creating a pathway towards legalization in the future and opted to make it part of the party’s platform. This move came at the urging of Bernie Sanders and his supporters within the party, who pushed for this issue to come to the foreground at this election. Every survey seems to indicate a progressively growing support towards the legalization of weed and it just seems like a matter of time now before it becomes legal, regardless of which party is in charge.