U.S.: Majority of Americans Want Marijuana Legalized
By Steve Elliott
A majority of Americans want marijuana to be legal, according to a new poll.
The CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 55 percent support the legalization of cannabis, while 44 percent are opposed, reports Aaron Blake at The Washington Post. The 55 percent support for legalization represents a rise of 12 points from just more than a year ago.
Polls from both Pew and Gallup have recently shown similar numbers, with majorities supporting cannabis legalization for the first time in American history. Gallup's poll showed support for legalization at 58 percent in October.
Most Americans don't view marijuana as being physically or mentally harmful, according to the new CNN poll. They are evenly split on whether pot is addictive, and whether it leads to other drugs. Only 19 percent describe marijuana use as a "major problem" in society today.
The rise in support for legalization comes as voters in two states, Colorado and Washington, have approved legalization measures. Colorado pot shops began selling weed last week, and Washington's are expected to join them sometime around mid-year.
Marijuana remains illegal under U.S. federal law, but the Obama Justice Department has said it won't go after legal cannabis businesses in either state, as long as they follow state laws and eight federal guidelines.