A majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana use — the first time public support has crossed the 50 percent threshold, according to new polling from the Pew Research Center.
Pew found that 52 percent of Americans said marijuana use should be legal, compared to just 45 percent who said it should be illegal. The level of support has jumped 11 percentage points in the last three years.
Support is even higher among younger American adults, with nearly two-thirds of Millennials — those born since 1980 — supporting legalization.
The findings cheered marijuana advocates, who said politicians need to follow voters’ lead.
“Not too long ago, it was widely accepted in political circles that elected officials who wanted to get re-elected needed to act ‘tough’ on drugs and go out of their way to support the continued criminalization of marijuana. The opposite is quickly becoming true,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority.
The biggest change is support appears in recent years is a shift away from people viewing marijuana use as a moral issue. Just seven years ago, 50 percent said smoking pot was morally wrong. Now, only 32 percent say that, while a full 50 percent say pot use isn’t a moral issue one way or the other.