Young Republicans are remarkably liberal on pot
When it comes to marijuana, the majority of young Republicans are far close to the Democratic view than they are to older members of their own party.
Pew poll data shows 63 percent of Millennial Republicans — those born between 1981 and 1996 — support legalized marijuana. That’s a higher percentage than Generation X and Silent Generation Democrats.
Boomer Democrats still have young Republicans beat, and the gap of support between Boomer Democrats and Republicans is the largest of any age group at 28 points. Overall, Republicans are not supportive of legalization. As of October, only 31 percent of all Republicans supported it.
But it’s a divisive topic if the applause during Thursday’s pot debate at CPAC, an annual gathering of conservatives, is any indication. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson argued for its legalization, casting it as a safer alternative to alcohol; “Having a debate right now over whether or not to legalize marijuana is kind of like having a debate over whether the sun is going to come up tomorrow,” Johnson said. On that same panel, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle of New York said marijuana today is stronger and more dangerous than in the past.
Public opinion sides with Johnson, with steady increases in support for legalization for all age groups since 2005 (Sidenote: it’s interesting to see the change in public opinion among Boomers. Support hovered around 40 percent in the ‘70s, but dropped during the “War on Drugs” '80s. Today, it’s higher than ever). Millennials are far and away the most supportive, at 69 percent.
Alaska became the first red state to legalize marijuana in November, and it won’t be the last. The way public opinion is trending, it looks to be only a matter of time before a majority of Republicans born in the last 50 years are pro-legalization.
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