Support for legal marijuana has reached up to 60 percent as voters in several states decide this fall whether to legalize use of the drug, according to a Gallup poll.
The use of marijuana is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia, and five more states – California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada – will vote this November. If passed in all five states, about a quarter of Americans will be living in states where pot use is legal, a rise from 5 percent.
The percentage of Americans who support legalizing marijuana marks the highest since Gallop began polling people on the issue in 1969, when only 12 percent were in favor. Percentages rose to about 28 percent in the 1970s but began to dwindle in the next decade due to the “Say No” to drugs campaign.
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) October 19, 2016
Support began to climb again in 2000 and reached a majority for the first time in 2013 after Washington and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.
While support is up from a decade ago among all ages, the poll showed that support rose more among Democrats and Independents than Republicans, but partly because of the older age skew in the Republican party.
If recreational marijuana becomes legal in California, other states will follow, as the “Golden State” often sets political trends for the rest of the country, Gallup reported.
Earlier this summer, the D.E.A. refused to remove marijuana from the most dangerous drugs list:
Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the D.E.A., wrote in the decision that marijuana would remain a Schedule 1 drug because “it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” He said these criteria are set out in the Controlled Substances Act, which mandates scheduling decisions based on scientific data.
“Research is the bedrock of science,” he wrote, “and we will — as we have for many years — support and promote legitimate research regarding marijuana and its constituent parts.”