Young Republicans Largely In Favor of Legalizing Marijuana

By McCarton Ackerman 03/03/15

Millennial Republicans are almost in line with Democrats of their age on the issue of marijuana.

man smoking pot in suit.jpg

Even conservative Americans appear to be falling on the side of favoring marijuana legalization. A new survey has found that nearly half of middle-aged Republicans support legalizing pot, an even greater percentage of millennials, who identify as Republican, support legalization efforts.

The Pew Research Center survey, published last week, found that 47% of Republicans aged 35 to 50 favored legalization, but 63% of GOP millennials are currently in favor of it. Although those numbers are well below Democrats in favor of It—61% for the older age bracket and 77% among millennials—they have been boosted considerably over the last five years.

However, the AARP set of Republicans continues to be overwhelmingly against it. Only 38% of conservative Americans aged 50-68 support legalization compared to 66% of Democrats. Those aged 68-and-over are even less in support of it, with just 17% favoring legalizing pot compared to 44% of Democrats.

Conservative officials have also remained publicly divided on the issue. During an annual debate last week at CPAC, an annual gathering of conservatives, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle of New York said that marijuana should remain illegal because it has gotten stronger and more dangerous over time.

But on the same panel, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said that pot is safer than alcohol and declared that “having a debate over whether or not to legalize marijuana is kind of like having a debate over whether the sun is going to come up tomorrow.”

Last November, Alaska became the first red state to legalize marijuana and recreational pot officially kicked off there last month. Under the new law, adults ages 21 and over may now possess up to an ounce of marijuana and six plants for personal use. Private exchanges of the drug are also allowed if money isn’t involved.

Smoking marijuana in public is still strictly forbidden and a $100 fine for lighting up in public will be strictly enforced by law enforcement. The ban on public smoking led marijuana organizers to call off plans for a celebration party in downtown Anchorage.

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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.