Don't block marijuana legalization in D.C., say Americans

October 30, 2014, 4:40 PM UTC

Half the country support the legalization of marijuana and most also think that Congress shouldn't block voters from legalizing the drug in D.C.

When voters in two states and the District of Columbia head to polling stations on Tuesday, they won't only pass judgement on Congress and school bond issues, but also on whether or not they think marijuana should be legalized. In Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., voters will decide on initiatives to legalize marijuana and end punishments on people who grow and use the drug. The proposals seem likely to pass; Oregon and Alaksa were the first states in the country to decriminalize marijuana in the 1970s, while voters in D.C. are largely behind the legalization push. 

The latest research from YouGov shows that half the country (50%) think that it should become legal to smoke marijuana, while 37% think that it shouldn't. There's a distinct party divide on the issue, however, with Democrats (65%) largely supporting legalization, while most Republicans (61%) oppose it. Nevertheless, 31% of Republicans support legalization compared to 21% of Democrats who oppose it. 

Asked specifically about legalization in Washington, D.C., support for the proposal to legalize it locally is almost as high (48%) as it is nationally. 

As a federal enclave, Congress has direct oversight over what goes on in the District of Columbia, meaning that they have the power to overturn any law in D.C. that legalizes marijuana. Most Americans (51%) say that Congress should not override any such law, while 32% say that Congress should. Interestingly, partisan attitudes are more aligned on this question than they are about legalization. While only 21% of Democrats say that they oppose legalization, 24% say that Congress should override the law and make them follow federal policy. Among Republicans 61% oppose legalization but only 47% say that Congress should override the law.

Full poll results can be found here.