New Poll Smashes Previous Record: 61 Percent Of Americans Want Marijuana Legalization

By Jonah Bennett

A new poll has found that 61 percent of American voters agree with legalizing recreational marijuana, shattering previous records. The poll was released by the Benenson Strategy Group (BSG), while the old record of 58 percent supporting was done by Gallup in 2013.

Republicans still haven’t crossed the halfway point. According to the BSG survey, 48 percent agree with legalization, while 52 percent still oppose. A slightly wider gap exists for conservatives, with 45 percent supporting legalization and 55 percent opposing.

A total of 72 percent of voters think that jail time for marijuana possession doesn’t make sense. Instead, these voters believe that the punishment should be reduced down to as low as $25 dollars and as high as $100 dollars. Although Republicans are traditionally opposed to marijuana legalization, this is a measure they’re friendlier towards, as 68 percent agree with the proposal. Of conservatives, 63 percent agree with reduced penalties.

BSG relied on a sample size of 1,032 registered voters to create a nationally representative survey. The survey was conducted from Feb. 26 to 27. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 points, meaning that results could actually be as high as 64.5 or 57.5. The latter, 57.5, is is 0.5 lower than that previous peak results recorded by the Gallup poll in 2013.

Republican voters have previously been blamed for legalization failing to pass in Florida. Amendment 2 needed 60 percent of the vote to pass, and exit polling established that Republicans and conservatives stopped the measure in its tracks.

In Florida, exactly 60 percent of Republicans opposed legalization, and 63 percent of conservatives also opposed the measure. Voters over the age of 65 also opposed Amendment 2, with 62 percent voting “no,” and only 38 percent voting in support.

In early March, the General Social Survey, an authoritative study of public opinion, determined that 52 percent of American support marijuana legalization– up 9 points since 2012. (RELATED: Survey: Majority Of Americans Support Legal Marijuana)

The General Social Survey confirmed previously results from a Pew survey in October 2014, which found essentially the same rate of support, at 52 percent.

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