Majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana
Along with rapidly changing attitudes regarding gay marriage and immigration reform, HERE‘s another indication that Americans are becoming increasingly liberal on certain social issues:
A national Pew Research Center poll released Thursday shows the majority of Americans support pot legalization 52 percent to 45 percent, with 72 percent who say that the cost of federal law enforcement efforts are not worth it.
The results mark the first time in more than four decades of Pew’s polling that a majority has taken that position. As recently as a decade ago, only about one-third of American adults backed making marijuana legal. Support for legalizing pot is up 11 points since 2010, the most dramatic change since the late 1960s, according to pollsters. A Gallup survey conducted in 1969 found only 12 percent favored legalizing marijuana use.
The latest poll also found the percentage of people who say they have used marijuana in the past year (roughly 1 in 10) or at any point in their lives (roughly half) is virtually identical in states that have legalized some marijuana use and those that have not, suggesting that more liberal laws have simply made usage more visible, not increased it, as some have feared.
The numbers are driven in part by an apparent shift in how baby boomers feel about the drug of their youth. The poll found most Americans don’t see marijuana as a “gateway” to more dangerous drugs anymore, and the majority no longer see use as immoral. Half of Americans said use was immoral as recently as 2006 — now that number has dropped to a third, while half say that marijuana usage is “not a moral issue.”