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Poll: Majority now favor marijuana legalization

Posted: April 5, 2013 6:49 p.m.
Updated: April 5, 2013 6:49 p.m.

For the first time in decades of polling, a majority of Americans said they favor legalizing marijuana in a survey released this week by the Pew Research Center.

The poll, released Thursday, shows 52 percent of Americans are in favor of decriminalizing the drug, an 11-point rise since 2010.

Only 11 percent of respondents in a 1969 Gallup poll were in favor of legalizing the drug.

In the most recently conducted poll, about 45 percent of respondents said they believe marijuana should remain illegal.

The largest support for legalization came from younger Americans, with 65 percent of those ages 18 to 32 in favor of legalization. This was an increase of 29 percent since 2008.

But a majority of respondents ages 30 to 49 and 50 to 64 were also in favor of legalization, according to the poll.

Several users commented in favor of marijuana legalization on The Signal’s Facebook page Friday.

“Alcohol is much more destructive, has been proven to be a gateway drug, and is 100 percent legal,” wrote Jeremiah Perez. “I would not use marijuana personally but I don’t believe the government should ban it anymore than alcohol.”

“I think that what people want to put in their bodies is their business, not mine,” wrote Christine Korenthal. “Unfortunately, my government thinks it’s their right to decide.”

Others disagreed.

“Nope to dope,” Patricia Orona wrote.

The number of Americans who think marijuana use leads to abuse of “harder” drugs such as cocaine and heroin has fallen over the years. Only 38 percent of respondents in the Pew poll said they think marijuana use leads to other drug abuse.

But others have a different perspective.

“Not every person that smokes marijuana will end up as addicts,” said Cary Quashen, the founder of Action Family Counseling. “But a great number of them will.”

Quashen said Friday he thinks the poll results illustrate how society has deluded itself into thinking marijuana is completely safe.

“The problem with marijuana is we’ve taken such a lax stance on it and decided it’s not dangerous,” Quashen said. “That’s insane. That’s a recipe for disaster.”

And, Quashen said, legalizing the drug would only exacerbate the issue.

“As a society we’re going to pay a big price for this one day,” Quashen said. “Some of our kids are paying it now.”
The Pew survey was conducted from March 13 to 17 and had a sample size of 1,501 adults.
On Twitter @LukeMMoney




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