Article by Jordan Weissmann, Slate
We live in a time of political acrimony, a moment when both candidates for president are loathed by large chunks of the public and our elections have come to feel like quadrennial skirmishes in a cultural civil war.
But you know what voters are starting to agree on? Weed. Gallup reports today that 60 percent of Americans now say they favor legalizing marijuana, a new high since the pollster started asking about the topic 47 years ago. To put that in perspective, Hillary Clinton has an average favorability rating of just 43.8 percent, according to HuffPost Pollster. Donald Trump clocks in at a mere 34.7 percent. Even President Obama, who has enjoyed a late-term spike in popularity as America has pondered his potential replacements, only enjoys about 54 percent favorability—meaning pot is more popular than POTUS and his would-be successors.
Gallup isn’t alone in its findings, either; earlier this month, Pew reported that 57 percent of Americans thought marijuana should be made legal, up from 32 percent 10 years ago.
So, on the one hand, these are the kinds of poll numbers that make federal legalization feel like an inevitability, especially since they’ll likely get more lopsided as millennials become a larger share of the electorate. A full 77 percent of Americans under 35 think we should end the ban on pot, according to Gallup, compared to just 45 percent of those over 55. Hillary Clinton has already saidshe would take the baby step of moving marijuana to schedule II classification,which would make FDA-approved marijuana-based pharmaceuticals legal while leaving the current network of medical dispensaries and recreational pot shops in much the same legal limbo they currently operate in. But a solid majority of the public says it’s ready for more dramatic action.