But the survey indicates two significant fault lines when it comes to marijuana policy: age and political party. Fully two-thirds of respondents ages 18 to 34 supported legalization in the survey, as well as majorities of those ages 35 to 49 and 50 to 64. But seniors 65 and older stood apart, with only 42 percent supporting legalization.
On the other hand, support among all age groups has risen by similar amounts in recent years. In 2008, for instance, only 40 percent of the youngest respondents and just over 21 percent of seniors supported marijuana legalization.
Breaking the numbers down by political affiliation tells a slightly different story. In the early 2000s, opposition to marijuana legalization was more or less a bipartisan issue. Only 29 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Republicans voiced support for legal weed in 2000.
Since then, support for legalization among Democrats and independents has risen much faster than among Republicans. In 2016, more than 60 percent of the former two groups supported legal marijuana. Among Republicans support stood at only 40 percent, a gap of more than 20 percentage points between Democrats and independents on the one hand, and Republicans on the other.
Moreover, support for legalization among Republicans has leveled off over the past two years, rising just 1 percentage point since 2016. But support among Democrats rose by 3 points, and independents saw a much greater 8-point jump.
Marijuana use, legal or otherwise, remains widespread in this country. Over 33 million adults currently admit to using the drug, according to Gallup. And with victories for legalization in California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts last year, roughly 1-in-5 Americans will soon have access to legal marijuana in their home states.
Meanwhile, Canadian lawmakers are expected to formally announce that nationwide marijuana legalization will be implemented by July of 2018, meaning that for Americans in northern border states, a legal pot fix is just a crossing away.
The General Social Survey was funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and conducted through in-person interviews with a random national sample of roughly 1,900 adults in the spring of 2016. Overall results carry a margin of sampling error of roughly 2.5 percentage points; the error margin for subgroups is larger.