Although liberals and conservatives tend to disagree on nearly every public issue in today’s polarized political climate, marijuana legalization may not be one of them.
On Wednesday, a Gallup poll revealed a whopping 64 percent of American adults favor legalizing marijuana, including 72 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of independents and 51 percent of Republicans.
The percentage of Republicans in favor of marijuana legalization is up nine points from a similar 2016 survey also conducted by Gallup. These recent findings suggest marijuana is currently one of the country’s least polarized issues: only government prioritization of fighting terrorism over protecting civil liberties enjoys as much bi-partisan support, according to the most recent surveys on public policy issues including gay marriage, free trade and tax reform.
When Gallup first began polling U.S. citizens on their attitudes about marijuana in 1969, support for the drug’s recreational use stood at only 12 percent.
Despite majoritarian public support, the recreational use of marijuana has only been legalized in eight states.
One of the states already in the legalization game is California. Although medical marijuana has been legal in the Golden State since 1996, retail markets for recreational marijuana are scheduled to begin on New Year’s Day 2018.
Despite the progress, a report from Fitch Group revealed the combination of state and local taxes for buyer and growers could reach as high as 45 percent, which would keep most of California’s cannabis industry underground.
“California’s black markets for cannabis were well established long before its voters legalized cannabis in November 2016 and are expected to dominate post-legalization production,” the report read.
Washington state, which legalized marijuana in 2012, taxes sales at a combined effective rate of 50 percent, followed by Colorado and Nevada at 36 percent.
While we continue to watch the percentage of support for recreational marijuana rise, it seems politicians may be the only ones refusing to get on board.