A closer look at the survey data, however, reveals a divide on marijuana views between conservative and liberal members within the Democratic Party.
An overwhelming majority of all Democrats now back marijuana legalization at the federal level, according to a new Gallup Poll.
The new 18 years of survey data also reveals, however, that there remains a sharp divide on marijuana legalization between the conservative and liberal members within the Democratic Party. While Democrats tend to strongly agree on issues like gun control, unionization, and corporate taxes, on a handful of issues they don’t see as eye-to-eye. Marijuana legalization is one such issue.
Data collected between 2013-2018 shows that 81 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats favor legalizing marijuana, compared to 62 percent of moderate Democrats and 44 percent of conservative Democrats.
“Conservative and liberal Democrats diverse sharply on other issues, particularly on certain values-related matters, with moderate Democrats generally falling somewhere in between,” wrote Gallup.
“The key areas of intra-Democratic friction involve abortion, embryonic stem cell research, the death penalty, doctor-assisted suicide, defense spending, government-run healthcare, same-sex marriage, legalization of marijuana and whether global warming is a looming threat. Solid majorities of liberal Democrats, versus less than half of conservative Democrats, hold the traditionally liberal positions on these issues.”
Still, support for marijuana legalization among Democrats is at an all-time high and has jumped considerably in recent years. Between 2001 to 2006, just 69 percent of liberal Democrats, 29 percent of moderate Democrats, and 27 percent of conservative Democrats favored marijuana legalization.
Democratic voters have also become more liberal in recent years. According to the latest period of Gallup collected data, liberal Democrats now make up 46 percent of the party, compared to 17 percent who self-identify as conservative Democrats.
Implications of the Poll’s Findings
Marijuana legalization has already established itself as a center issue in the upcoming 2020 election, and the findings of the new Gallup Poll could prove helpful to candidates who will run for President in the Democratic Party primary.
Of the candidates who have already announced their intent to run, nearly all have adopted pro-legalization stances. While the Democratic Party primary is likely to become even more crowded, here is a brief rundown of where candidates vying for the Party’s nomination so far stand on marijuana.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has earned a reputation of being an outspoken, unwavering supporter of marijuana reform. She is the lead sponsor on the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, which would protect state-legal operations, and has co-sponsored at least six other major pieces of marijuana-related legislation.
- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has made marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform a major piece of her campaign platform. She came out in support of legalization in 2018, signing on as a sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act.
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) hasn’t been particularly outspoken about marijuana, but has regularly supported legislation introduced by colleagues.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has for years championed marijuana policy reform. In his announcement video, he again reiterated his support for marijuana legalization, arguing that the government “needs to end the destructive war on drugs.”
- Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has put marijuana legalization at the center of his platform. He has also introduced some of the boldest marijuana legislation during his time in Congress, including the Marijuana Justice Act.
- Julián Castro, a former U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary and San Antonio mayor, hasn’t been particularly vocal about supporting marijuana legalization but has signaled on social media that states should be able to legalize marijuana without federal interference.
- As one of the most vocal advocates for federal marijuana reform in Congress, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation and routinely talks about cannabis policy on social media and in speeches.
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has been a strong supporter of marijuana reform during her six years as a member of Congress. She criticized the criminal justice system for locking up people for smoking marijuana in her formal campaign launch speech earlier this month.
- Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) has yet to vocally embrace full marijuana legalization, but has historically supported and voted in favor of marijuana reform amendments.
- Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and founder of Venture for America, has made marijuana legalization central to his campaign stance and includes it as an issue on his campaign website.
- Pete Buttigieg, the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has remained relatively quiet on the cannabis issue, suggesting at least at first that he won’t make it central to his campaign.
- Marianne Williamson, best-selling author and Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual advisor, has tweeted in favor of legalizing marijuana.
Cannabis Industry News
Support for marijuana legalization in the U.S. extends beyond Democrats. Last October, Gallup found that 66 percent of all U.S. adults believe “the use of marijuana should be made legal.”