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.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend