New research breaks down who’s for and against legal cannabis
Roy Morgan have released results from their new research regarding support for cannabis legalisation amongst Australians. Not surprisingly, Australians’ support for legalising recreational cannabis has increased. However, those against the move are still the majority, according to Roy Morgan.
Exact figures show an overall 9% increase in support over the last four years to 42%, and an overall 9% decrease in those who oppose the move, now standing at 49%. Despite the opposition still solid at almost half of those surveyed, the opposing trends evident here are very significant.
Roy Morgan’s research results are based on in-depth face-to-face interviews of over 50,000 Australians. These interviews take place inside their homes, and are conducted each year to get a grip on the yearly changes of opinion. Here, changes were recorded across all age groups, with support increasing consistently throughout.
This latest research gives us a glimpse into who the likely cannabis supporters is
Take a look at the results in the graph below.
The Roy Morgan research gives us a lot of details about the participants. They were categorised based on demographics such as age groups, and psychological profiles were provided to further analyse the results.
The largest supporters for cannabis legalisation are between the age of 18 and 34. Those aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 also saw the most increase in support since 2015 (14% and 12% gain respectively). No other age groups support cannabis legalisation more oppose it. To put things into perspective.
- Support amongst the 18 to 24 age group was only 36% back in 2015; 50% of that group now support legalisation, while only 41% oppose the idea (a 10% point decline).
- Support amongst the 25 to 34 age group was only 34% back in 2015; 45% of that group now support legalisation, while 42 percent oppose the idea (a 10% point decline).
Roy Morgan also described the typical profile of an Australian cannabis legalisation supporter as a younger male adult who lives alone and doesn’t have any children. This likely supporter belongs to the Socially Aware Roy Morgan’s value segment:
- Strong sense of social responsibility;
- Good at convincing others with their opinion;
- Become involved in pressure groups quite often;
- Typically public servants, politicians, and researchers;
- Likely to have environmental concerns;
- Holds progressive views.
What about those who still oppose cannabis legalisation?
Although there were increases in support across all age groups as well as decreases in those against legalisation, all other groups besides those mentioned above still oppose legalisation more than they support it.
The typical cannabis legalisation opponent is a retired, older woman, falling into Roy Morgan’s Traditional Family Life value segment:
- Strong family focus;
- Eager for family visits, babysitting, weekend BBQs, etc.;
- Believes crime is a big problem in their community;
- Against globalisation;
- Strong believer in government’s ability to make the right decisions.
A surprising age group are those between age 14 and 17. This group had the highest opposition percentage at 64%, although that’s an 11% point drop from 2015. They’ve had the highest opposition rate over the years, and only 26% support legalisation (up 9% point from 2015). Less surprising are the elderly, aged 65 and older, who are the next highest opposing group. Fifty-eight percent of them oppose legalisation (down 4% points from 2015), while 33% support the idea (up 7% points).
How the overall increasing support trend is shaping cannabis agenda
Recently, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legalised cannabis for recreational use. The move reflected the increasing support for cannabis legalisation there, where 47% support legalisation (up 14% points from 2015) and 40% oppose, according to Roy Morgan. The ACT has the highest proportion of supporters in Australia.
Taking notes of these trends is typically a great predictor of future legislation. Despite overall supporters still being less than opponents, the fact remains that there’s a consistent increase in Australians who support legalisation, and a consistent decline in those that don’t support legalisation.
Take the United States, for example. There, support for cannabis legalisation has continued to increase over the years, while those who oppose the idea have declined in numbers. The result of that trend has been the legalisation of cannabis on a state-by-state basis, with Illinois being the latest of 11 states to legalise recreational cannabis, and amongst the 33 states that currently allow medical cannabis.
With support continuing to increase here in Australia, perhaps full legalisation is imminent. If it doesn’t happen on a federal level, then expect states and territories to follow the ACT’s lead and take matters into their own hands, especially where such a move is consistent with their constituents.