According to a September 2012 poll, 59 percent of young Americans favored legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use, compared to 45 percent among Americans over 30. A similar percentage of millennials thought “we need a strong government to handle today’s complex economic problems” while 41 percent believe “people would be better able to handle today’s problems within a free market with less government involvement.” One might quickly conclude that nearly two-thirds of the millennial generation are liberal Democrats, at least on these issues. However, the data reveals a more nuanced story.

Instead, only 28 percent of millennials want to both legalize pot and strengthen government. Instead, 30 percent want to legalize pot and prefer free markets to a strong central government. Another 29 percent of young Americans want a strong central government but don’t want to legalize marijuana. Another way to think of this is that 50 percent of young Americans desiring drug reform also prefer free markets, and half of millennials who prefer strong government also oppose marijuana legalization.