According to a Gallup poll released today, for the first time, the majority of Americans (58%) say that marijuana should be legalized.

The first time Gallup asked this question, in 1969, only 12% favored legalization.

Support for legalization has been rising incrementally since then, reaching 28% in the 1980s and 50% in 2011. Gallup believes that the increased support for marijuana legalization is a result of initiatives in Colorado and Washington this past year.

Also helping marijuana's cause is that the federal government has refused to challenge those initiatives, so long as the states maintain strict regulations over the cultivation and sale of the drug.

Independents represented the largest segment of growing support for legalization. Twelve-percent more of them supported legalization in 2013 than in 2012.

["Man Smoking Joint" on Shutterstock]