64 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana

Regulated Cannabis Grow

Increased support for legalization coincides with the increased legality of marijuana throughout America in statewide ballot measures, according to Gallup.

More Americans than ever think marijuana should be legal, according to a new Gallup poll that found a majority of Republicans supporting legalization for the first time ever.

New polling indicates that more Americans support marijuana legalization than they have in almost 50 years. The percentage of Gallup respondents who support legalization has climbed consistently since 2012, when 48 percent of those polled said they supported it. Back in 1969, only 12% of adults supported legalization.

"It makes sense that support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing", said Morgan Fox, the director of communications for Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest organization devoted to reforming cannabis laws.

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Support for marijuana legalization has been rising steadily over the years so it's not all that surprising to some that numbers have reached this level. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Marijuana is illegal at the federal level but eight states - Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts - and Washington, D.C., have fully legalized recreational-use pot. Most recently marijuana was legalized in 2016 in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and ME via citizen referenda and voters in a number of other states approved legalization for medicinal purposes. That still lags far behind Democrats at 72 percent and Independents at 67 percent.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions may want to shut down the marijuana industry, but apparently linking it to violence or claiming that "good people don't smoke marijuana" is not making a convincing enough case for the American people. While it's true that this increase in support for legalization has not led to the same rapid changes in the law we saw when it came to marriage equality, much of that can be attributed to the differences in how those laws can be changed. But if more and more Republican voters begin to support pro-marijuana candidates during the primaries, they could begin to shift marijuana policies throughout the United States.

Over half the USA has legalized some form of marijuana use. Despite this slower pace, though, the trend toward more liberal marijuana laws and eventually nationwide legalization, seems to be fairly clear. Earlier this year, Vermont became the first state to approve a bill through its legislature that would have made marijuana legal for adults before being vetoed by the governor.

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