Majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal

A Gallup poll released Monday shows that for the first time since Gallup began asking the question more than 40 years ago, a majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana. The poll showed 50 percent in favor of legalization and 46 percent opposed.

Support is especially strong among liberals and young people, but support is strong especially among men. Only 46 percent of women favor legalization. All regions of the country favor legalizing marijuana except the south.

Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a retired Baltimore narcotics cops, said, “The Obama administration’s escalation of the ‘war on drugs’ and its attacks on state medical marijuana laws are only giving more and more Americans the opportunity to realize just how ridiculous and harmful our prohibition-based drug laws are. These numbers from Gallup, as well as the California Medical Association’s recent endorsement of marijuana legalization, show that momentum is on the side of reformers, so it’s no wonder the drug warriors are getting scared and ramping up their attacks. People are clearly waking up to the fact that we can no longer afford the fiscal and human costs of this failed ‘war on drugs.’ Savvy politicians would do well to take heed,” he said in a prepared statement.

Colorado Congressman Jared Polis has introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana
at the federal level, but allow individual states to set their own laws.

In Colorado, there is likely to be an initiative on the ballot in 2012 that would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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