Half in U.S. support legalizing marijuana use: poll

Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:14am EDT

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(Reuters) - Half of Americans now support legalizing marijuana use, a record level, amid growing support for decriminalization that could build pressure to eventually change U.S. laws on the drug, a Gallup poll showed on Monday.

The poll showed that support was highest among liberals and adults under age 30, with more than 60 percent of respondents in those categories favoring legalization. Support was lowest, at just 31 percent, among Americans over age 65.

"Support for legalizing marijuana has been increasing over the past several years, rising to 50 percent today, the highest on record," a summary of the poll said. Another 46 percent said marijuana should remain illegal.

"If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues, pressure may build to bring the nation's laws into compliance with the people's wishes," the summary added.

Gallup said support for legalization had crept up from just 12 percent in 1969 to 30 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 2009. Last year, a Gallup survey found 70 percent of Americans favored making it legal for doctors to prescribe marijuana to relieve pain and suffering.

California in 1996 became the first state to decriminalize medical marijuana, and a number of other U.S. states have followed suit with their own statutes. Cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law.

A separate national survey released last month showed that marijuana was increasingly becoming the drug of choice among young adults in the United States, with nearly seven percent of Americans aged 12 and older having used marijuana in 2010.

The Gallup poll released on Monday showed that Democrats, at 57 percent, were more likely to support legalization than Republicans, only 35 percent of whom favored such a move. Men, at 55 percent, were also more likely to back legalization than women, at 46 percent.

By geography, more than half of Americans in the West, Midwest and East supported legalization while in the South, 44 percent favored such a move.

The poll was based on telephone interviews conducted October 6-9 with a random sample of 1,005 adults across the country. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

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Comments (17)
gregbrew56 wrote:
You would have thought that we learned something from Prohibition. Current policy is so 20th century.

Oct 18, 2011 10:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JamesReed wrote:

This link will let you show support for ending the federal law against marijuana, which would let the states regulate it.

H.R. 2306, entitled the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011,’ prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess marijuana by removing the plant, and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Oct 18, 2011 10:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
JohnG-73645 wrote:
Only 5% of Americans have any brains. Add Cannabis and there’ll be much less left.

Oct 18, 2011 10:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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