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Marijuana legalization more popular than free college and $15 minimum wage, poll finds

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Marijuana Moment is a wire service assembled by Tom Angell, a marijuana legalization activist and journalist covering marijuana reform nationwide. The views expressed by Angell or Marijuana Moment are neither endorsed by the Globe nor do they reflect the Globe’s views on any subject area.

Marijuana legalization is more popular than a national $15 minimum wage, banning semi-automatic assault guns, free college tuition, and a $1,000 universal basic income, according to a new national survey.

The Marist Poll, which was funded by NPR and PBS NewsHour, involved phone interviews with 1,346 US adults from July 15-17. Participants were asked to say whether they felt 20 different policy proposals were good or bad ideas.


Near the top of the list, 63 percent of respondents said that legalizing cannabis is a “good idea,” compared to 32 percent who expressed opposition.

Requiring background checks for firearm purchases, allowing people to opt in to Medicare, government regulation of prescription drug prices, and creating a pathway for immigrants who are in the United States illegally to become citizens were the only issues in the poll that proved more popular than marijuana.

While more people described legalization as a good idea than did so for a Medicare-for-all plan that would do away with all private health insurance, 70 percent said that they favored a combined system where individuals can “choose between a national health insurance program or their own private health insurance.”

When it comes to certain measures targeting issues such as climate change and income inequality, Americans were more divided. Legalization also outranked eliminating the electoral college, abolishing the death penalty, providing reparations for slavery, and decriminalizing border crossings.

The survey findings offer another piece of evidence demonstrating that cannabis reform is generally a politically winning issue, and it helps explain why nearly every 2020 Democratic presidential candidate supports legalization.


That said, while marijuana reform is an increasingly bipartisan issue, there are some demographic and ideological factors still at play.

For example, 74 percent of Democrats, 41 percent of Republicans, and 66 percent of independent voters said they think legalization is a good idea. Eighty-seven percent of those who identify as liberal or very liberal said they favor legal cannabis while just 40 percent of those who describe themselves as conservative or very conservative share that view.

Among individuals who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, 41 percent said legalization was a good idea, and 54 said it was a bad idea.

But overall, the survey showed similar levels of support as Gallup, which released a poll in June that showed 64 percent of Americans favor legalization.

Read this story on Marijuana Moment.