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More Republicans Now Support Marijuana Legalization

| by Sarah Zimmerman

For the first time, more Republicans support the legalization of marijuana than oppose it. 

International market research firm YouGov found that 45 percent of Republicans favor marijuana's legalization over 42 percent who oppose it. Most Americans support legalization of marijuana, and that trend has been increasing throughout the years. Vox reports that support has grown from 52 percent of all Americans in 2015 to 55 percent today.

These record highs are unprecedented and could be a result of national shifts in attitude, Vice News reports. According to another YouGov poll, 54 percent of Republicans believe that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws are not worth the high cost. 

Democrats and Independents still largely outweigh Republicans in their support for marijuana legalization. YouGov suggests that 63 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Independents are in favor of legalization.

Most prominent Republican party officials are against the legalization of marijuana, with the notable exception of former Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul, who believes that the issue should be decided by each state. Another Republican, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, supports the use of medical marijuana, provided that the drug has gone through an FDA vetting process, according to Mother Jones.

Other former Republican presidential candidates like Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz have admitted to trying pot, but are adamantly against all forms of legalization. 

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is also against the use of marijuana for recreational use, according to Vice. "I think it's bad," Trump said to the Conservative Political Action Conference in June 2015, about Colorado's choice to legalize. "Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it's bad, and I feel strongly about that."

This stance is vastly different from Trump's stance in the 1990s, when he was in favor of legalizing all drugs. "We're losing badly the war on drugs," Trump said at the time to a local newspaper, according to Vice. "You have to legalize drugs to win that war."

Although the study states that more Republicans are in favor of legalization, YouGov only polled 1,000 adults, and given that the results are so close, the margin of error makes it difficult to tell how conclusive these findings are. Nevertheless, they do confirm a national trend that support for legalization has been increasing with each passing year, according to Vox. 

Should marijuana be legalized?
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