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Record High 60 Percent Of Americans Support Legal Pot

According to a new Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana.

Support for the drug's legalization has seen a steady increase over the years, where only 12 percent of Americans thought pot should be legal when the question was first asked in 1969. In more recent years, support has doubled since a 2000 poll found 31 percent of Americans backed legalization efforts. 2016 marks the highest approval levels ever, and comes weeks before nine states are set to vote on recreational and medical marijuana usage.

Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will be voting Nov. 8 to legalize recreational marijuana. If these measures pass, they will be joining Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia, all of which already have recreational laws in effect. If all five states do choose to back these measures, that would mean almost 20 percent of states will have legal pot. 

Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota will also be voting on marijuana measures, deciding if medical marijuana should be permitted, PBS reports. Montana will vote to ease current medical marijuana restriction laws.

The November election could turn the tide on the way the entire country views recreational marijuana, according to Time. The Gallup poll remarked that "if recreational marijuana use becomes legal in California this year, many other states will likely follow, because the ‘Golden State’ often sets political trends for the rest of the U.S."

The Gallup poll, which was released Oct. 19, shows that 67 percent of Democrats, 42 percent of Republicans, and 70 percent of Independents support marijuana legalization. The highest support was among those aged 18-34 and the least support among those over the age of 55.

Gallup's poll is consistent with a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, which found that 57 percent of Americans back recreational pot, notes PBS.

With support for marijuana on the rise, pro-legalization groups are hopeful this means the measures up for vote this November will pass. 

"More politicians -- presidential candidates included -- would do themselves a big favor to take note of the clear trend," said Tom Angell, chairman of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority. 

Sources: PBS, Time / Photo credit: Matthew Kenwrick/Flickr

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