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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Majority Support for Marijuana Legalization

The Pew Research Center reports:
For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.

Support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010. The change is even more dramatic since the late 1960s. A 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84% were opposed.

The survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17 among 1,501 adults, finds that young people are the most supportive of marijuana legalization. Fully 65% of Millennials –born since 1980 and now between 18 and 32 – favor legalizing the use of marijuana, up from just 36% in 2008. Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly Baby Boomers.
Issues of federalism and government spending come into play:
Nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) say that in general, government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth. And when it comes to the question of whether the federal government should enforce marijuana laws in states that have approved marijuana use, a majority (60%) says it should not.

There is agreement across partisan and demographic groups that federal government enforcement of marijuana laws is not worth the cost. Fully 78% of independents, 71% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans say government enforcement efforts cost more than they are worth.

Similarly, there is substantial opposition to the federal government enforcing marijuana laws in states that permit the legal use of marijuana: 64% of independents say the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in such states, as do 59% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans.