The proportion of US adults who oppose legalization has gone from 52% in 2010 to 32% today.
For two-thirds of Americans, weed consumption should be legal, and reflects a steady rise in that number over the past decade, according to a new poll Pew Research Center.
In the meantime, an overwhelming majority of US adults (91%) say that cannabis should be legal for medical and recreational use (59%), for medical use only (32%). Fewer than one in ten (8%) prefer to keep it illegal under any circumstances, according to 3's September 15 survey of the Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel.
As in the past, there are large partisan and generational differences in views about the legalization of cannabis. Nearly eight out of ten independent Democrats and Democrats (78%) say that marijuana use should be legal. Republicans and Republican supporters are less in favor of legalization, with 55% in favor of legalization and 44% against.
The majority of people born between 1981 and 1997, Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) say that the use of weed should be legal. Members of the silent generation (born between 1928 and 1945) continue to be the least favorable to legalization: Only 35% are in favor of the legalization of marijuana, while 64% oppose it.
The generational gap on legalization exists within the coalitions of both parties. The major majorities of baby boomers (81%), generation X (76%) and "millennial" Democrats (78%) say that its use should be made legal, compared to 53% of the democrats of the silent generation who say that.
"Millennial" Republicans are also largely in favor of legalizing cannabis use; in fact, Republicans of this generation are almost as favorable to legalization as Democrats (71% vs. 78%). Generation X and Baby-boom Republicans are more divided, 55% of Generation X Republicans and 49% of Baby-boom Republicans are in favor of legalization. Members of the Republican Party of Silent Generation are the least likely to promote legalization: Only 21% say marijuana use should be legal, while three-quarters (76%) say it should not be legal .
About nine out of ten Americans support legalization for recreational or medical purposes.
In addition to asking respondents whether cannabis use should be legal in general, the Center asked a separate group of respondents about its position on legalizing weed for medical and recreational purposes. Nearly six out of ten Americans (59%) support legalization for medical and recreational purposes, while 32% say it should be legal for medical purposes only. Only 8% say that this should not be legal.
About two-thirds of Democrats (68%) say that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational purposes, compared to 49% of Republicans. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that it should be legal only for medical purposes (38% vs. 28%) or that it should not be legal at all (12% versus 4%).
Young adults are slightly more likely than older adults to claim that cannabus consumption should be legal for medical and recreational purposes. About two-thirds (69%) of 18 seniors at 29 years say that it should be legal for both types of use, compared to 48% of people aged 65 and older. Most adults of 65 years and older are nevertheless in favor of legalization in one form or another.
Public support for legal cannabis has increased as more states legalize for medical or recreational purposes.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized weed for recreational purposes.
Meanwhile, 33 states - plus the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands - have legalized for medical purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Marijuana remains illegal under US federal law. However, several Democratic presidential candidates have made proposals to legalize or decriminalize cannabis use.