New Poll Finds Growing Support for Legalization

February 19, 2009 -

A growing number of Americans, and a majority in the West, support legalizing marijuana, according to a January 29-31 poll of 1,053 likely voters by Zogby International, sponsored by California NORML and Oaksterdam University.

When asked: "Should marijuana be taxed and legally regulated like alcohol and cigarettes to help raise money for public services and to reduce law enforcement costs?", voters responded: 44% Yes, 52% No, and 4% Undecided.

Surprisingly high support was reported in the West, where voters favored legalization 58% - 36%. However, the significance of this margin is questionable due to the relatively small number of respondents (232). Easterners were nearly divided - 48% Yes, 49% No - while other regions were strongly opposed.

A similar Zogby/NORML poll in 2006 found only 36% of Americans in support of legalization, with 55% opposed. 

Nationally, voters under 30 were particularly supportive, by a margin of 55%-45%, suggesting that a majority could emerge in coming years. Among older groups, baby boomers aged 50-64 showed the strongest support, 48%-48%.

In another Zogby poll question sponsored by NORML, voters were asked whether Obama should fulfill his election pledge to end DEA raids on medical marijuana providers in states where medical marijuana is legal. 

Voters overwhelmingly said yes by 72% - 21%, with voters in all demographic groups agreeing.

The day after the poll results were released, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro announced the administration's intent to end the DEA raids.

Chart source: fivethirtyeight.com