But a look at the numbers shows just how different federal law on marijuana is vs. public attitudes of it. The latter are much more favorable toward legalizing it.
Interestingly, the same has not happened to a similar degree on marijuana.
Part of that may be because politicians think that drug legalization is a third rail in American politics. They may see the national polling on the issue, but they don’t believe it.
This coincides with pretty much every group backing legalization nationally. The only ones that didn’t in Gallup polling were Republicans (48%), conservatives (49%) and attending religious services weekly (48%). Those numbers are still far higher than their baseline support for a lot of liberal issues.
And to be clear, this isn’t a polling phenomenon. Marijuana legalization isn’t just something that is popular in polling. It’s something that’s popular at the ballot box.
In 2020, there were four different states that had ballot measures for legalizing recreational marijuana. Every single one of them passed.
What’s notable here is that in every state, marijuana legalization got a higher percentage of the vote than Biden. Marijuana ran anywhere from about 10 points better (New Jersey) to nearly 20 points better (South Dakota) than Biden did.
It’s hard to imagine that Biden would be hurt by moving his stance from decriminalizing to legalizing. He may even pick up some voters.