A new CNN/ORC International poll finds a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, 55% to 44%. The poll also found that only 35% now think that smoking marijuana is morally wrong.
According to CNN Polling Unit, the new poll found interesting divides on the issue:
- Two-thirds of those 18 to 34, and 64% of those 34 to 49, said marijuana should be legal.
- Half of those 50 to 64 said marijuana should be legal, but only 39% of those 65 and older.
- Sixty-two percent of Democrats and 59% of Independents, but just 36% of Republicans, favor legalizing marijuana.
- Fifty-nine percent of men but just 51% of women supported making pot legal.
The CNN poll results confirm findings reported by Gallup in October.
In that poll, Gallup found 58% of Americans support legalizing marijuana. The increase in support for legalizing comes from Independents. Sixty-two percent of Independents now favor legalization. That is a 12% increase during the last year.
In the accompanying video, Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport discusses Americans' changing views on marijuana legalization since 1969:
When Gallup first asked about legalization in 1969, only 12% favored legalizing marijuana. Support for legalization doubled in the 1970s, plateaued during the 1980s and 1990s, and slowly moved higher since 2000 -- reaching 50% in 2011.
Colorado and Washington recently became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. The new polling suggests they won't be the last.