Gallup poll: Record number of Americans favor marijuana legalization

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, October 17, 2011 17:48 EDT
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Gallup has found that Americans favor marijuana legalization now more than ever. A record-high 50 percent of Americans say the use of marijuana should be made legal, up 4 percent from last year and 14 percent from 2006.

Now only 46 percent say marijuana use should remain illegal, according to a poll released Monday.

“If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues, pressure may build to bring the nation’s laws into compliance with the people’s wishes,” Gallup noted.

The survey comes after the California Medical Association, the state’s largest doctor group, on Friday adopted a resolution to support the legalization of marijuana.

The support for marijuana legalization comes as U.S. prosecutors in California threatened to seize the properties of licensed California marijuana dispensaries if they don’t close up shop within 45 days. U.S. attorneys in California have also threatened to target newspapers, radio stations and other media outlets that advertise for dispensaries.

“The Obama administration’s escalation of the ‘war on drugs’ and its attacks on state medical marijuana laws are only giving more and more Americans the opportunity to realize just how ridiculous and harmful our prohibition-based drug laws are,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a retired Baltimore narcotics cop.

“These numbers from Gallup, as well as the California Medical Association’s recent endorsement of marijuana legalization, show that momentum is on the side of reformers, so it’s no wonder the drug warriors are getting scared and ramping up their attacks,” he added. “People are clearly waking up to the fact that we can no longer afford the fiscal and human costs of this failed ‘war on drugs.’ Savvy politicians would do well to take heed.”

Support for marijuana legalization was highest among liberals, those aged 18 to 19 and Moderates, according to the poll. Support was lowest among conservatives, Republicans and those older than 65. Those in the Midwest and West are more likely to favor marijuana legalization than those in the South or East.

Gallup first began tracking Americans’ view of marijuana legalization in 1969, when only 12 percent favored it.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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