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26 October 2017, 01:03 | Rodolfo Quinn
Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Favor Legal Pot
The latest figure, based on an October 5-11 Gallup poll, follows shifts in the US legal landscape regarding marijuana since Gallup's 2016 measure.
More Americans than ever think marijuana should be legal, according to a new Gallup poll that found a majority of Republicans supporting legalization for the first time ever.
Democrats have historically supported legalizing marijuana and became the first partisan group to see majority support for the matter in 2009, Gallup said. In 2001, it grew to 34 percent - and since 2013, a majority of Americans have backed the idea.
In response to the latest numbers, the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest marijuana-focused policy organization, said the increased support for legalization "makes sense". In states where medical marijuana is legal, opioid overdoses go down.
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As for Democrats, 72% support legalization, up from 67% when Gallup polled the question previous year, and 67% of independents support legalization as well. Gallup attributes the growing consensus to "efforts to legalize marijuana at the state level" and the success that followed. Eight out of nine marijuana-related ballot measures were approved during the November 2016 election.
"Americans are exhausted of wasting resources arresting hundreds of thousands of individuals every year for using a substance that is safer than alcohol", said Morgan Fox, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. While it's true that this increase in support for legalization has not led to the same rapid changes in the law we saw when it came to marriage equality, much of that can be attributed to the differences in how those laws can be changed.
"Instead of wasting limited law enforcement resources trying to stop successful state-level legalization initiatives, USA officials should listen to the clear, bipartisan message the public is sending them, and support federal marijuana reform as well", she added. But if more and more Republican voters begin to support pro-marijuana candidates during the primaries, they could begin to shift marijuana policies throughout the United States. The majority of state legislatures and governors' seats are controlled by the GOP.
Coloradans voted in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana, meanwhile, opening the door for the country's first state-licensed retail pot shops to open in January 2014.
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