Popular support for the legalization of marijuana use in the United States has reached a record high of 70%, according to a recent Gallup poll. The poll was conducted from October 2nd to 23rd. Its complete results further showed that only 29% of respondents were against legalization, and 1% of respondents were unsure.

The upward trend in support of the legalization of marijuana coincides with an increase in self-reported marijuana use among Americans. A steady increase in support, beginning from the time of Gallup’s first poll on the subject in 1969, includes a significant increase that coincided with the legalization of marijuana in the states of Washington and Colorado. Marijuana use has continued to increase, with a July Gallup survey showing 50% of respondents had tried marijuana, and 17% responding that they smoke marijuana.

The same July survey did, however, show that the majority of Americans are concerned about the use of marijuana in young adults and teens. 75% of Americans responded that they were either “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about marijuana use among American youths. By contrast, a lesser minority of 45% showed the same level of concern about marijuana use in adults.

The two polls propose interesting contrasts. 49% of respondents 18-34 years of age had tried marijuana, and 29% said they smoke marijuana, potentially representing the “young adults and teens” activity that 75% of all surveyed Americans voiced concern for. In another contrast, 45% of all respondents voiced concern about the marijuana use of all age groups, but 70% favored legalization. This leaves room for the potential that one in four Americans would voice concern for marijuana use, but would not call for legal barriers against marijuana use.

The October Gallup poll about marijuana legalization also found that all groups show majority support for legalization, with no differences in response relating to gender, race, education, or state of residence. The poll did find a significant correlation with political parties, with the vast majority of liberals and Democrats supporting legalization (91% and 87%, respectively) and only slight majorities of conservatives and Republicans supporting legalization (52% and 55%, respectively). A slight correlation was found to the age of respondents. Among respondents 18-34 years of age, 79% supported the legalization of marijuana. Among the most elderly of respondents, 64% supported legalization.

While health organizations do continue to raise concerns about the potential medical risks of marijuana use, and it does continue to serve as a political talking point for some commentators, public support for marijuana legalization has demonstrated a steady increase. The recent Gallup poll shows that national opinion has reached a point where all surveyed population groups of Americans express majority support for legalization.

These results will be significant to many political bodies and special interest groups, as legal and legislative measures surrounding marijuana use continue to be proposed throughout the United States. In particular, the definitive support among the youngest respondents in recent polls implies that support will continue to increase over time as younger Americans reach voting age and begin to participate as voters and activists in American politics.