Number of Americans Supporting Legal Pot Shoots Higher

 poll finds majority of Americans support marijuana legalization.
A man smokes marijuana during an anti-drug trafficking, pro-marijuana rally in Santiago, Chile, on April 20. In the U.S. an April 20 poll finds a majority of Americans support marijuana legalization. Ivan Alvarado/REUTERS

Support for legalizing pot just keeps increasing in the United States. A new CBS poll found the highest percentage of Americans ever favored making marijuana legal, with 61 percent of voters saying weed should be legal for adults and another 88 percent backing making medical marijuana legal across the U.S.

Only 33 percent of respondents in the poll released Thursday said marijuana shouldn’t be made legal in the U.S., a three percent decrease from 2016. Support for marijuana legalization was up five percent compared to last year, when 56 percent of Americans said cannabis use should be legal for adults.

In addition to the increase in support for legalizing marijuana, a majority of voters wanted to see the federal government loosen its restrictions and laws on cannabis, with 71 percent saying they opposed interference with marijuana sales and use in legal states.

Opponents of federal marijuana rules and the plant’s Schedule I listing on the Controlled Substance List could potentially see rules change—that is, if a group of lawmakers in the so-called Cannabis Caucus can convince the Senate and House to approve a package of bills introduced in March, including one that would make marijuana legal on a federal level, subject to regulation similar to U.S. alcohol laws.

The CBS poll also asked Americans whether they thought alcohol or weed was more harmful, and 53 percent said it was alcohol. Only seven percent of Americans thought marijuana was more harmful, while 28 percent said both were equally harmful. Nine percent said neither alcohol nor marijuana was harmful.

The number of those in favor of making recreational marijuana legal for adults is the highest it’s ever been, one percent above a Gallup national poll in October that found 60 percent of Americans approved of legalizing marijuana—the most support the idea had received since the poll was first conducted 47 years ago.

CBS’s poll was conducted by phone April 11-15 and included a random sample of 1,011 U.S. adults.