Poll Shows Americans Are Against Legalizing Other Drugs

By McCarton Ackerman 04/21/14

While support for legal marijuana has grown in recent years, most people remain staunchly opposed to harder drugs being legalized.


While the majority of Americans are consistently in favor of legalizing marijuana, that same belief doesn’t extend to any other illicit substances.

A new Huffpost/YouGov poll conducted last February showed that 51 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana and 70 percent favor legalizing medical marijuana, but those polled were overwhelmingly opposed to legalizing nine other drugs. Only 15 percent supported making peyote legal, while 11 percent wanted cocaine to be legal. Heroin was the most adamantly opposed for legalization, with 86 percent wanting it to stay banned, while 85 percent of those polled were opposed to legalizing crack.

The responses from those polled appeared to be shaped by age and political views. Those under the age of 65 were far more likely to support legalizing marijuana than those over the age of 65. Younger Americans were also slightly more likely to back the legalization of other drugs. Sixty-two percent of Democrats also favored legalizing marijuana, compared to just 32 percent of Republicans, but both parties appeared equally opposed to legalizing other drugs.

However, those opposed to legalizing these drugs are still primarily in favor of drug treatment over jail time. More than half of those polled for a separate survey last November said a first time conviction for possession of these drugs shouldn’t result in jail time, while a HuffPost/YouGov poll from last August showed that two-thirds of Americans were opposed to mandatory minimum sentences.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.