As greater numbers of Californians favor legalizing weed, and after Colorado and Washington have actually done so, the nation is following suit.
The latest Gallup poll says that, for the first time since it started asking about marijuana in 1969, a “clear majority” of Americans favor the legalization of recreational pot:
About 58 percent of Americans say let it be legit. That compares to a 50 percent approval rate in 2011, says Gallup.
The organization says a “sizable” 38 percent of Americans admitted trying cannabis, a possible factor in our increasing acceptance of weed. Another possible factor: Legalization in Colorado and Washington.
Support for legalization has jumped 10 percentage points since last November and the legal momentum shows no sign of abating. Last week, California's second-highest elected official, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said that pot should be legal in the Golden State, and advocates of legalization are poised to introduce a statewide referendum in 2014 to legalize the drug.
Only 35 percent of Republicans support legalization, versus 65 percent of Democrats, Gallup says.
The rate of support for legitimizing it among 18- to 49-year-olds is 62 percent and above, the poll says. Only the 65-and-older bracket said no at a majority rate (53 percent).
Pollsters asked more than 1,000 American adults about weed from Oct. 3 to 6, according to Gallup, which concludes:
It has been a long path toward majority acceptance of marijuana over the past 44 years, but Americans' support for legalization accelerated as the new millennium began. This acceptance of a substance that most people might have considered forbidden in the late 1960s and 1970s may be attributed to changing social mores and growing social acceptance …
Whatever the reasons for Americans' greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States.