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Majority of Republicans support marijuana legalization

26 October 2017, 01:06 | Lucy Hill

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The number is the highest level of support in almost half a century of surveying adults on the issue, according to Gallup.

A new Gallup poll found that 64 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana. But a new Gallup poll did reveal a somewhat surprising demographic supports marijuana legalization more than ever: Republicans. The percentage of Gallup respondents who support legalization has climbed consistently since 2012, when 48 percent of those polled said they supported it.

Seventy-two percent of Democrats told pollsters this month they support legalizing marijuana, up from 67 percent in 2016, according to the results published Wednesday.

The survey of 1,028 Americans over the age of 18 also found that 51 percent of respondents with Republican political affiliation said they supported legal marijuana.

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"It makes sense that support for ending marijuana prohibition is increasing", said Morgan Fox, the director of communications for Marijuana Policy Project, the nation's largest organization devoted to reforming cannabis laws. In states where medical marijuana is legal, opioid overdoses go down. Eight out of nine marijuana-related ballot measures were approved during the November 2016 election. "On both issues, about a quarter supported legalization in the late 1990s, and today 64% favor each", Gallup writes in its analysis of the poll. In 2010 Democrats were nearly twice as likely as Republicans to favor legalization. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Legal marijuana now has equal support to gay marriage among Americans, Gallup notes. Despite this slower pace, though, the trend toward more liberal marijuana laws and eventually nationwide legalization, seems to be fairly clear.

The Trump administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) is now reviewing a policy from the Obama administration that discouraged federal law enforcement from interfering in state marijuana laws as long as they followed a certain criteria.

The sharp shift in Republican voters' views on pot is the most significant finding in the Gallup poll, coming during a time of increased federal skepticism of marijuana legalization efforts.

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