Society

Poll: Support For Legal Marijuana Higher Than Ever

| by Ray Brown

Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana more than ever, according to a new poll.

Findings from a CBS News poll released on April 20 suggest that 61 percent of Americans think marijuana use should be legalized, which is a 5 percentage point increase from 2016.

For medicinal purposes, 81 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized.

Political affiliations do not matter much in regards to who favors marijuana legalization, according to the poll.

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Among Republicans, 63 percent favor the legalization of marijuana. And among Democrats, 76 percent favor legalization. That number is similar to independents, who favor marijuana legalization at a 72 percent rate.

Opponents of marijuana legalization tended to be over the age of 65, according to the CBS News poll. Those under 65 tended to favor marijuana legalization.

The poll also found that 50 percent of respondents admitted to having tried marijuana in the past.

Although most in the U.S. favor the legalization of marijuana, critics say Attorney General Jeff Sessions is trying to start the war on drugs back up.

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"When they nominated me for attorney general," Sessions said, according to The Arizona Republic, "you would have thought the biggest issue in America was when I said, 'I don’t think America’s going to be a better place if they sell marijuana at every corner grocery store.' [People] didn’t like that; I’m surprised they didn’t like that."

Ricardo Baca, a marijuana reporter for The Denver Post, based in Colorado where recreational marijuana use is legal, blasted Sessions' comments in an opinion article published in The Cannabist.

"Like most of Sessions' ruminations on cannabis, he is dead wrong on this point," Baca wrote. "Journalists easily tracked down plenty of anti-cannabis propaganda from Sessions' recent interviews on the subject, and his 'corner grocery store' opinion was far from the most grabbing."

Sessions has long been a critic of marijuana legalization and seems to be undeterred by popular opinion.

"I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable," Sessions recently said in a speech, reports The Washington Post. "I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana -- so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life."

Sources: CBS News, The Arizona Republic, The Cannabist, The Washington Post / Photo credit: James St. John/Flickr

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