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Gallup: Majority Of Americans Favor Marijuana Legalization For First Time

Submitted by on October 23, 2013 – 9:38 amNo Comment

A new Gallup poll out this week found that a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for the first time since the group asked in 1969. Support for legalization saw a stunning 10 point jump in the last year alone, from 48% to 58% of Americans.

American’s approval of legalized marijuana has been fickle, but generally increased in the last 40 years. It doubled over the course of the seventies, but declined slightly in the eighties and increased only two percent from the mid 80′s to the mid 90′s. The last year has also seen legalization in two states, Colorado and Washington.

In 1969, only 12% favored legalization.

Gallup noted that this progress closely mirrors that of another social issue: gay marriage, which has garnered increasing support while finding legalization on the state level. Dan Amira at New York magazine went even further, pointing out that at this rate, marijuana legalization is outstripping support for gay marriage. The most recent Gallup data from May puts the latter at 53%.

In a well-timed op-ed for CNN, marijuana policy lobbyist (and former prosecutor) Dan Riffle outlined the low health risks of marijuana compared to alcohol, which is a leading cause of “lifestyle-related deaths,” violent crimes, and emergency room visits in the US:

Marijuana, on the other hand, does not cause overdose deaths and comes with far fewer long-term health consequences. A 2009 Canadian study determined the annual health-related costs associated with alcohol are more than eight times greater per user than with marijuana. And, according to the Institute of Medicine, people who use marijuana are far less likely to become dependent than those who drink alcohol.

Riffle also explained the legal, administrative, and bureaucratic benefits of prosecuting millions of less people for low-level possession.

What do you think- should marijuana be legalized in the US? Let us know in the Comments.

[image via Wikimedia Commons]

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