Support for marijuana legalization has long been a generational issue. Statistically speaking, older voters tend to be against marijuana legalization, while younger people tend to support marijuana legalization. This is true even among political circles that overall don’t always support marijuana legalization. For instance, a new Pew Research poll found that an overwhelming number of young Republicans favor marijuana legalization. Overall, Republicans are less likely to favor legalization compared to liberal political parties, but that appears to not be the case for the younger members of the Republican party. Per the Pew Research Center:
Six-in-ten (63%) GOP Millennials say the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 35% say it should be illegal, according to our February 2014 survey. That level of support is higher than among Republican Generation Xers (47%) and Baby Boomers (38%), and much higher than among GOP members of the Silent generation (17%). (When we asked the question again in October, overall opinion was only slightly changed.)
Republican Millennials, however, are not as supportive of marijuana legalization as their young Democratic and Democratic-leaning counterparts. Democrats overall are more enthusiastic supporters, with three-in-four (77%) Democratic Millennials favoring legal marijuana use, as well as 66% of Boomers, 61% of Gen Xers and 44% of the Silent generation inside the party. Across every generational divide, Democrats show higher support than Republicans on this issue.
The overall sea change in marijuana views comes as Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia passed ballot measures legalizing marijuana use in the 2014 election, with the latter two officially going into effect this week. (Colorado and Washington are the only other states that have instituted laws to legalize marijuana.)
Legalized marijuana is on the horizon for the rest of the nation. Oregon, Alaska, D.C., Washington, and Colorado were the first areas of the country to legalize, but they certainly won’t be the last. As older generations of Americans are replaced by their younger counterparts, of any political affiliation, the support for marijuana reform will continue to grow. We have already reached and passed the tipping point, and time is clearly on the side of marijuana legalization efforts.