The Midwest Is Powering the Marijuana Legalization Revolution

The 2018 edition of the General Social Survey is out, so I thought I’d browse through it and look for something interesting. How about this?

Overall, support for legalizing marijuana has gone up from 16 percent in the early 90s to 62 percent in 2018. No real surprise there. But the fastest growth has been in the Midwest. In 1991 only 12 percent of folks in the heartland wanted to legalize marijuana, the lowest rate in the country. In 2018 that jumped to 69 percent, the highest in the country.

Why the big jump in the past two years? It could be an artifact, but the GSS has a pretty big sample size, so it’s probably legit. In the last decade, support for legalizing marijuana has gone up 36 points in the Midwest. In every other region, the increase has been only 22-25 points. Something is going on.

POSTSCRIPT: If you feel like browsing the latest GSS data yourself, you can access a lot of it via the GSS Data Explorer.

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