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What do surveys say about marijuana legalization?

Although states like Colorado and Washington have voted to legalize marijuana, the federal government and many other states have been more reluctant to consider a new approach. Some areas have decriminalized offenses related to marijuana, while others allow its use only in the context of medical pursuits.

Public opinion may be shifting, however, and more and more Americans are voicing support for legalization. Survey data has revealed this trend, while in states that may soon vote to legalize marijuana, polls are showing that the presidential election may not be the only hotly contested issue this November.

Growing support
According to Gallup, the proportion of Americans that believe marijuana should be legal has grown significantly over the last 50 years. In the fall of 2015, 58 percent of Americans polled stated that they would support legalization.

In 1969, only 12 percent of adults in the U.S. reported that marijuana should be legal. Even by the 1990s, that number hovered around 25 percent. In fact, Gallup stated that just 10 years ago, roughly 56 percent of surveyed Americans supported the idea. 

Legalization, therefore, has shown huge leaps in support in a very short period of time. Survey data shows that among younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34, roughly 71 percent of individuals favor legalization. Other age groups report more trepidation on this issue, though perspectives in older demographics are shifting as well. Gallup found that in 2000, just 17 percent of senior citizens supported the legalization of marijuana, but by 2015, that number had jumped to 34 percent.

Growing legal support
Although public perception has certainly changed in the last few years, state and national legislation has been more reluctant to catch up. States like Ohio, Vermont and California have all had proposed laws regarding marijuana legalization fail when put to a vote. Other states have forged different paths, and instead opted for medical marijuana or other forms of reducing the costs associated with policing the issue. The site Governing reported that 24 states and Washington D.C. have passed some sort of law that legalizes marijuana in one form or another.

In Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Colorado, legalization has been fully realized, while other states have continued to explore the same possibility. A recent poll in Massachusetts - where marijuana legalization will be on the November election ballot - found that public opinion on the matter is still split. The Boston Globe found that 43 percent of adults polled would support legalization, while 46 percent stated they would oppose the measure. Another 11 percent reported being undecided.

As November approaches, the issue of marijuana legalization will join many other proposals that begin to intensify in visibility. Along with the presidential race, the next few months will likely be full of political advertisements and demonstrations as groups and individuals rally support for candidates and proposals. Taking paid surveys is a great way to make money from home online that can be used to make a contribution to a political group, as well as pay for supplies used at a rally or demonstration.


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