Marijuana legalization is one of the hottest news topic today with every major news outlet releasing a new study or pot survey almost on a daily basis. With all the positive news coverage on pot, it seems as though national legalization of marijuana is an inevitability, as California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently said in a press conference. So what is the national sentiment on if and when marijuana will be legalized in the U.S.? Bloomberg Politics recently asked this question in a poll conducted on April 6-8, 2015. The results of the Bloomberg Politics poll on national marijuana legalization show that 63% of Americans believe pot will be eventually legalized the U.S., with 58% saying it will be legal within the next 20 years.
MOST AMERICANS BELIEVE MARIJUANA WILL BE LEGAL IN THE U.S. WITHIN 10 YEARS
Of the 63% who stated marijuana would eventually be legalized nationwide, there was some variance on the expected time frame. The largest percentage (26%) believe pot will be legal in the U.S. within 10 years. Another 17% say cannabis will be legal within 5 years and 2% within the next year. Total of 18% say it will take 20 years or longer. Only 32% thought it would never happen.
Several states have marijuana legalization initiatives that are expected to be on the ballot for 2016. The one that everyone will be watching as the bellwether for the whole movement is the California legalization measure to be voted on in 2016. Although an effort to legalize pot in California failed in 2010 (an off-election year), many are predicting 2016 will present the “perfect storm” to get the measure passed. There are similar ballot initiatives in Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts, and Arizona.
If California’s legalization advocates are successful in their efforts in 2016, it will be a “game changer” not just for marijuana in the U.S. but for the world. California by itself is one of the largest economies in the world and has served as a trend setter in many controversial issues, including being the first state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. The result of the California legalization efforts will be one of the factors that determine whether pot is legalized nationwide within 5 years (UPDATE: WeedMaps.com has committed $2 million to legalizing marijuana in California)
One unknown is the position presidential candidates will take on the marijuana legalization issue. If an “anti-marijuana” candidate is elected into the White House, it could and probably will change everything. An activist DOJ backed by an anti-marijuana president could potentially spell the end to the legalization movement. It would be a politically risky move for a prospective candidate to come out strongly against marijuana in today’s pot friendly environment, as Chris Christie recently when he proclaimed he would “crack down” on marijuana, but things can change quickly in politics. The political strategists will certainly be working overtime to determine if marijuana is an election issue for 2016.
The following is a break down of the results from the Bloomberg Politics Poll on national marijuana legalization:
Question: Do you expect the recreational use of marijuana will be legal in all 50 states within…
- 2% – The next year
- 17% – The next 5 years
- 26% – The next 10 years
- 13% – The next 20 years
- 5% – Longer than 20 years from now
- 32% – Never
- 5% – Not sure
What’s your opinion? When will marijuana be legalized nationwide? Sound off in the comments below!