The majority of the American population believes the time has come to bring down the walls of prohibition across the Land of the Free, according to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center.
Fifty-seven percent of the adults in the United States say marijuana should be legalized in a manner similar to beer, the poll finds, while only 37 percent still think it should continue to be illegal.
These numbers are rather impressive, especially considering that just ten years ago only 32 percent of the population responded in favor of legalization, while a whopping 60 percent said the illegal status of the cannabis plant should go unchanged.
The latest Pew Research poll finds that Millennials (ages 18-to-35) are the driving force behind the increase in support on this issue. In fact, the younger generation is about twice as likely to support legalization as it was back in 2006. But overall, the attitudes surrounding marijuana reform are changing across the board. Now, nearly 60 percent of the Baby Boomer generation (ages 36-to-51 and 52-70) supports legalization -- a tremendous leap from the 21 percent who stood up for the issue in 1990.
As it stands, more than half the nation has legalized the leaf for either medicinal or recreational purposes, with more nine more states predicted to join the list come November.
Drug policy experts believe the latest numbers show significant momentum for the marijuana legalization debate. They only hope the results will eventually opens the eyes of federal lawmakers to the will of the people.
“It’s more clear than ever which way the country is moving on marijuana,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority. “Legalization is polling much better than either presidential candidate, and politicians should do more to appeal to this growing constituency.”
“No matter what happens in November, we know that a growing majority of Americans support ending cannabis prohibition, and the next president and Congress need to make it a priority to finally end outdated federal prohibition laws that stand in the way of full and effective implementation of state policies,” he added.
This poll is consistent with other national surveys concerning marijuana legalization. Public opinion on the issue has consistently ranked somewhere between 50 and 60 percent for the past few years.