Friday, April 16, 2021

Women Surpass Men Supporting Marijuana Legalization in New Poll

A new national poll from Quinnipiac University found a record high 69% of Americans support marijuana legalization, and that 70% of women support it, with only 68% of men surveyed in support.

This is the first time a poll has shown more support for legalization among women than men. Until very recently, women have consistently supported it 8-13% less than men. A Washington Post analysis of a 2013 Pew survey that found a 9% gap between men's and women's support concluded that women's religious beliefs and lower likelihood to use marijuana were at play, more so that motherhood or other factors.

A CBS poll released on 4/20/2016 was the first to show majority female support for marijuana legalization in the US. Though still trailing the 59% of men who were in favor, 54% of women then said they supported it too, up from only 43% of women and 54% of men in the previous year. A November 2020 Gallup poll found 69% of men and 66% of women supported legalization, narrowing the gender gap to 3%.

One reason for the shift is likely women's increased role in publicly advocating for legalization, many of them heading NORML chapters across the country. Women of all ages are also increasingly depicted using marijuana on film and TV and articles about legalization are more often picturing women, not just men. And women are feeling emboldened to speak up about their marijuana use (or at least admit to past use without apology, like VP Kamala Harris has).  

Photo: A supporter at the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival in Kutztown, PA on April 17, 2021. Sean Simmers 

UPDATE 11/23: The gender gap is back in the latest Gallup Poll, which shows a record 70% of Americans in favor of legalization, with 72% of men in support and only 68% of women. 

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