Poll: For the first time, majority of Republicans want legal cannabis

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Almost two-thirds of Americans think cannabis should be legal, according to a Gallup poll released Monday. That represents the highest number in the nearly 50 years since the polling organization began asking about the issue, according to a press release.

The findings come as four states prepare to vote on November ballot initiatives that would increase momentum behind legalization of the drug for recreational and medical use.

Voters in Michigan and North Dakota will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use. Missouri has three initiatives on the ballot that would legalize marijuana for medical use. And Utah has a medical marijuana measure on its ballot.

Democrats and independents remained more likely than Republicans to say marijuana should be legalized, the poll found. But for the first time, a majority of Republicans — 51 percent — also expressed support for legalization. That’s up 9 percentage points from last year.

The Gallup figures were based on poll conducted Oct. 5-11. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

In this Feb. 26, 2015, file photo, House Speaker John Boehner speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Perhaps the most prominent Republican in the cannabis industry is John Boehner, the former House speaker.

In April, Boehner joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, a company that cultivates, processes and dispenses cannabis in 11 U.S. states. Boehner’s endorsement, after saying nine years ago he was “unalterably opposed” to legalization, could be considered a watershed event: Marijuana has gone mainstream.

“Over the last 10 or 15 years, the American people’s attitudes have changed dramatically,” Boehner said in an interview. “I find myself in that same position.”

By Stephanie Akin
CQ-Roll Call / Tribune Content Agency
and Associated Press reports