POLITICS

Opinions On Marijuana Have Changed A Lot In 50 Years

"Which do you feel is worse -- a middle aged person getting drunk from too much liquor, or a young person trying marijuana?"
Jerry Ludke sells weed necklaces during the 420 celebration at Civic Center Park in Denver, April 20, 2016. People gather at
Jerry Ludke sells weed necklaces during the 420 celebration at Civic Center Park in Denver, April 20, 2016. People gather at the park to celebrate marijuana.

Americans' views on marijuana have shifted quite a bit since the term 4/20 was coined about four decades ago. In 1969, just 12 percent of Americans thought marijuana should be legalized -- by 2013, nearly 60 percent agreed. More than 40 percent of the public now tell Gallup they've tried marijuana, up from just 4 percent when pollsters first asked nearly five decades ago.   

Along the way, pollsters have thrown in more colorful questions on the subject, forcing call center employees to ring up Americans and ask them how easy it is to buy pot in their neighborhood or how often their friends get stoned. Here's a sampling of some of the most interesting surveys, courtesy of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research:

  • 1969: Little Support For Legalizing Marijuana
    Roper Center
  • 1969: Americans Weigh In On The Effects Of Marijuana
    Roper Center
  • 1971: Half Of Parents Would Turn In Their Children
    Roper Center
  • 1971: Worse Than Middle-Aged Drunks
    Roper Center
  • 1974: 38% Think The Younger Generation Will 'Grow Out Of' Marijuana
    Roper Center
  • 1978: Narrow Majority Supports Firing Aides Who Smoke
    Roper Center
  • 1986: In Retrospect...
    Roper Center
  • 1986: Three-Quarters Of Americans Say It'd Be Easy To Buy Marijuana
    Roper Center
  • 1987: 'Stoned' or 'High'
    Roper Center
  • 1987: Nearly One-Third Of Americans Are Kind Of A Buzzkill
    Roper Center
  • 1992: Voters Don't Believe Clinton Didn't Inhale
    Roper Center
  • 1999: Half Of Americans Think Smoking Warrants Impeachment
    Roper Center
  • 2013: 'Weed' And 'Pot' Beat 'Ganja' And 'Reefer'
    Roper Center
  • 2013: A Majority Supports Legalization For The First Time
    Roper Center
  • 2015: Few Care About Candidates' Marijuana Usage
    Roper Center
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