- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A new survey finds U.S. adults increasingly supportive of marijuana legalization, with 57 percent saying that the drug should be made legal.

The Pew Research Center’s findings highlight loosening opposition to legalization just a month before voters in five states will be asked whether they want to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

A decade ago, opposition was much stronger, with only 32 percent of U.S. adults favoring legalization.

The survey finds stark differences in opinion among different age groups. Among those between the ages of 18 and 35, support for marijuana legalization is the highest at 71 percent. The survey also found dramatic shifts in support for legalization among older Americans over the last two decades.

In 1990, only 21 percent of Generation Xers (ages 36 to 51) supported legalization while today that number stands at 57 percent. Meanwhile, baby boomers (ages 52 to 70) support increased from 17 percent in 1990 to 56 percent today.

The majority of those between the ages of 71 and 88 still oppose legalization, with only 33 percent in favor.

The survey, conducted Aug. 23-Sept. 2 among 1,201 U.S. adults, also found that while the majority of both Democrats and Republicans support legalization, Democrats are more likely to be in favor with 66 percent supportive.

Four states and Washington, D.C., have already legalized recreational marijuana use; meanwhile, medical marijuana programs now exist in half of the 50 states.

Heading into the November, a total of nine states have marijuana-related initiatives on the ballot.

California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine are set to consider ballot measures next month that would allow for the legal sale and taxation of marijuana. Voters in Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota will decide whether to on start full-fledged medical marijuana programs, and Montana voters will decide whether to loosen restrictions on their state’s existing program.

Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, said given the overwhelming support for legalization, politicians should take note.

“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support ending cannabis prohibition, and the next president and Congress need to make it a priority to finally end outdated federal prohibition laws that stand in the way of full and effective implementation of state policies,” he said.

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