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Polls: Widespread Support for Marijuana Legalization

By    |   Wednesday, 15 April 2015 11:24 AM

A number of new polls show that the majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, including a large percentage of young people.

A study by the Pew Research Center found that 53 percent of people support legalization, a figure that has held steady over the last year. Millennials in particular are more supportive than any other demographic group, with 68 percent of those aged 18-34 supporting legalization.

Support for legalization is divided along party lines. Fifty-nine percent of Democrats and 58 percent of independents support legalization. Just 39 percent of Republicans support legalization but it was the highest GOP support since Pew started testing the issue in 1969.

Support for legalization was the highest among those who ideologically identified with the left. Specifically, 75 percent of Democrats who consider themselves liberal favor legalization, the poll found, compared to 48 percent of Republicans who identify as more moderate or left-leaning.

Republicans who identified as conservative oppose legalization by 2-to-1.

"The more that people learn about marijuana and look at the benefits of legalization, the more likely they are to support reform," Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, told The Huffington Post.

"Our opponents sure do have a lot to say about what they see as the benefits of continuing prohibition, but voters don't want to hear it."

But one anti-legalization group said that the shifting opinions are due to a "multimillion-dollar effort" to normalize marijuana.

"Yes, it is becoming a bit of a David-and-Goliath story here, but given the widespread opposition to legalization among the scientific, medical, and business world, no one should count anti-legalization groups out," Kevin Sabet, co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, told the Post.

Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac survey of two swing states found similar results to Pew's. In Virginia and Iowa, voters are overwhelmingly in favor of legal medical marijuana, at 86 percent in Virginia and 87 percent in Iowa. A majority in those states also support legal recreational marijuana, including 54 percent of Virginians and 47 percent of Iowans.

Last week, another Quinnipiac poll found deep support for legalizing medical marijuana in three other swing states: 84 percent support in Florida and Ohio, and 88 percent support in Pennsylvania, with smaller majorities supporting the legalization of recreational marijuana as well.

In Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, Quinnipiac found that 62 percent of people are in favor of the state's policy, an increase of 8 points from the year before.

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A number of new polls show that the majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, including a large percentage of young people.
marijuana, support, millennials, pew, polls
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 11:24 AM
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