The drive for marijuana legalization has never received as much support as it is doing now across the United States.
According to a new poll conducted by CBS, more than half of America wants pot to be legal— a new high in the history of the country. Fifty-six percent of people who were interviewed in a telephone survey said that marijuana should be legalized, while only 36 percent of people said that pot should remain illegal under federal law.
Public opinion on the legalization of marijuana has changed dramatically over the last few decades. In 1979, for instance, only 27 percent people in America believed that pot should be legal for recreational purposes. Even until five years ago, more than half of America’s population believed that marijuana should remain illegal.
Although marijuana usage is prohibited under federal law, some states have experimented with allowing its use over the last two decades. About 20 years ago, California was the first state to make marijuana use legal for medical purposes.
Since then, eight states have passed laws making marijuana legal for people with certain medical conditions, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana advocacy group which tracks state pot laws.
But while pro-marijuana advocacy has never seen so much success as it is doing now, only four states in the United States — Washington, Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon — allow marijuana possession in small amounts by adults over 21 for any reason, reports Fox News.
However, results of the new poll suggest that laws do not aptly reflect the consensus of American citizens. Almost 59 percent of men in the country support marijuana legalization, while among women, the percentage is only slightly lower, with 54 percent of women saying that pot should be made legal.
Among the advocates of marijuana use, a majority of those people are young. A staggering 71 percent people in America under the age of 35 advocate marijuana legalization, a jump of 10 points from only last year. Among the older populace, as could be expected, just 31 percent of Americans 65 and over think marijuana use should be legal.
Marijuana advocates contend that making pot legal would not only help the respective state governments better regulate the drug’s usage, but that it would generate a lot of revenue that could into funding other public institutions. An earlier report in Inquisitr appears to validate this claim, showing that a Colorado county became the first place in the world to offer college scholarships funded entirely by marijuana money.
The most remarkable insight from the poll, it appears, comes about the views of doctors on marijuana legalization. Nine out of 10 doctors said that they do not have a problem prescribing small amounts of marijuana to their patients if they are suffering from illnesses deemed to be serious in nature.
Six out of ten Americans do not even think that marijuana legalization should be something that should be addressed under federal law, arguing that it should be the responsibility of respective state governments.
“With 67 percent of voters believing states, not the federal government, ought to be the ultimate arbiters of marijuana regulatory policy, it’s no longer acceptable for the federal government to continue to be an impediment to progress,” read a statement released by National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) on Wednesday.
It is quite clear that the drive for marijuana legalization is scaling new heights in the United States, and it would not be surprising if more states in the future pass laws allowing the usage of pot for recreational purposes. For the advocates of the drug, the battle has been a long and hard one, and while it will continue to be that way for several years to come, a shot at victory does seem to be within sight.
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]