Pubdate: Wed, 23 Oct 2013
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2013 Los Angeles Times
Author: Matt Pearce


Here is a short list of things that, according to Gallup, are less 
popular with Americans than the idea of legalizing marijuana:

Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court. The president.

In a sweeping cultural shift, comparable perhaps to Americans' 
quickening support of same-sex marriage, a majority of Americans now 
favors legalizing marijuana use, according to a Gallup poll released 
Tuesday. The survey showed that 58% of 1,028 respondents supported 
legalization and 39% opposed it.

That's a drop for the naysayers from just three years ago, when 50% 
of respondents opposed legalization - a number already riding a long 
plummet from a high of 73% in the 1990s.

Gallup credited much of the surge to political independents, whose 
support for legalization jumped from 50% to 62% in less than a year.

And what a year it has been for marijuana advocates: In November, 
voters in Colorado and Washington easily passed ballot initiatives - 
about 55% to 45% in each state - to legalize the possession and sale 
of marijuana.

In Colorado, the legalization measure got more votes than President 
Obama, who won the state.

After the victory, advocates and politicians alike were unsure how 
federal law enforcement authorities would react to state laws that 
contradicted federal laws that prohibited marijuana use and listed it 
as a controlled substance.

That tension eased after the Justice Department announced in August 
that federal officials would not interfere with voter-approved laws 
that legalized recreational marijuana use, as long as the state laws 
were strictly enforced.

The Gallup poll didn't quiz respondents on why, exactly, they've 
gotten behind pot legalization. But the shift can't solely be 
attributed to personal drug use.

In August, 38% of Gallup respondents said they had tried marijuana. 
That's the highest number ever recorded by a Gallup survey, and yet 
it's only an incremental increase for a figure that has remained in 
the mid-30s since the 1980s.

Americans older than 65 remain the only age group that opposes 
marijuana legalization, with 53% against.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom