According to a new Gallup poll, fifty percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, which is a new record high. Those numbers are up from just 36 percent in 2006 and could have significant implications for state and national marijuana policy.
During the past two decades, there has been a marked shift in public opinions on the issue. When asked in 1970 if people thought the drug should be made legal, only 12 percent of respondents agreed. That number rose to 28 percent percent by the late 1970s, then dipped slightly lower in the 1980s, which it stayed steadily until 2006, when it then rose to 36 percent.
Support has spiked in the past five years to 40 percent of respondents favoring legalization in 2009 before numbers jumped another 10 percent, according to the annual crime survey conducted Oct. 6-9, with majorities of men, liberals and 18-29 year-olds currently support legalizing cannabis.
The poll numbers come as federal prosecutors are cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries, vowing to shutter state-licensed marijuana shops regulated by local governments and threatening landlords with property seizures.