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Originally published October 22, 2013 at 7:42 PM | Page modified October 23, 2013 at 7:15 AM

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Majority of Americans favor legal marijuana

A majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana use, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.


Los Angeles Times

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Here is a short list of things that, according to Gallup, are less popular with Americans than the idea of legalizing pot:

Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court. The president.

In a sweeping cultural shift, comparable perhaps to Americans’ quickening support of same-sex marriage, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana use, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday. The survey showed that 58 percent of 1,028 respondents supported legalization, with 39 percent against.

That’s a drop for the naysayers from just three years ago, when 50 percent of respondents opposed legalization — a number already riding a long plummet from a high of 73 percent in the 1990s.

Gallup credited much of the surge to political independents, whose support for legalization jumped from 50 percent to 62 percent in less than a year.

The Gallup poll didn’t quiz respondents on why, exactly, they’ve gotten behind pot use. But the shift can’t solely be attributed to personal drug use.

In August, 38 percent of Gallup respondents said they had tried marijuana. That’s the highest number ever recorded by a Gallup survey, and yet it’s only an incremental increase for a figure that has remained in the mid-30s since the 1980s.

Americans older than 65 remain the only age group that opposes marijuana legalization, with 53 percent against. Support grows stronger with each younger generation, with 18- to 29-year-olds supporting legalization 67 percent to 31 percent.

The Gallup poll on marijuana was based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 3-6, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.



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