Sixty percent of Americans favor legalizing pot, poll finds

  • Those respondents who said they "actively support" legalization -- 31 percent -- outnumbered the 29 percent of those who said they favor legalizing cannabis for personal use.
  • The NBC/WSJ poll of 900 adults was conducted Jan. 13-17.
Denis Balibouse | Reuters

Sixty percent of Americans are now in favor of legalizing marijuana for personal use, up from 55 percent in 2014, a new poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found.

Those respondents who said they "actively support" legalization — 31 percent — outnumbered the 29 percent of those who said they favor legalizing cannabis for personal use.

The NBC/WSJ poll tests the tide of public opinion during a tumultuous time for the burgeoning American cannabis industry. On January 1, California's adult use market came online, which has been projected to add $5 billion in annual revenue to the burgeoning industry, nearly tripling its size. Legal marijuana revenues were $2.8 billion in 2016, according to a 2016 study commissioned by the state and conducted by researchers at University of California Davis Agricultural Issues Center.

On January 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to rescind the Obama-era Cole Memo, eliminating tenuous protections provided by the federal government and threatening to derail the industry.

Survey results seem to confirm suspicions of Sessions critics like Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who suggested Sessions is "out of step" with the American people.

The NBC/WSJ poll of 900 adults was conducted Jan. 13-17. It carries a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.