For the first time, a majority of people in the United States believes marijuana should be legalized, according to online polling data company CivicScience. More than 50 percent of Americans believe the recreational drug should be legalized, up 10 percent from last year, USNews.com reported.
Over 450,000 U.S. adults were asked: "Would you support or oppose a law in your state that would legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol?" Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they support marijuana legalization. Thirty-nine said they “strongly support” and 19 percent said they “somewhat support.” Men were found to be in favor of legalization more than women, by 60 to 55 percent, the data said.
Pot sales are currently legal in Washington state and Colorado to people 21 and older. People are allowed to be in possession of one ounce or less of the drug.
"It's a choice of who do you want selling it? Do you want someone using violence and intimidation and a gun, or do you want someone selling it who has passed a background check and done financial disclosures?" Michael Elliott, executive director of the Denver-based Marijuana Industry Group, told USNews.com. "This is not a choice of whether marijuana is going to be sold in our communities. It is being sold.”
Since its legalization, Colorado has brought in $25 million in tax revenues from cannabis sales. "They're realizing it's a lifestyle issue. It's not worth getting agitated about," Robert Calkin, founder and president of the Cannabis Career Institute, told the USNews.com. "Pot is something that can be incorporated [into one's life] just like any other herb or supplement. It's not something we need to be alarmed about."
Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, told the Huffington Post the CivicScience study was a major indication that pot legalization is a mainstream issue. "With ending prohibition polling better with voters than most elected officials do these days, it'll be really interesting to see which 2016 contenders realize that supporting marijuana reform is good politics and which still don't get it," he said.
Follow me on Twitter @mariamzzarella