Poll: Majority Say Pot Should Be Legal

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 5 2013 10:11 AM

For the First Time, a Majority of Americans Think Pot Should Be Legal

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48 percent of Americans admit that they've smoked pot at least once in their lives

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

A new survey from the Pew Research Center suggests that for the first time since pollsters started asking the question more than four decades ago, a majority of Americans believe that pot should be legal.

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 9.57.30 AM

In related news: 48 percent of Americans admit that they've smoked pot at least once in their lives, up from 38 percent a decade ago. Other takeaways:

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  • 65 percent of Millennials,  54 percent of Generation X, and 50 percent of Boomers now favor legalizatioon.
  • 12 percent say they have used marijuana in the past year. Among those, 47 percent say they used it “just for fun,” 30 percent say it was for a medical issue, and 23 percent volunteer they used it for both.
  • 38 percent agree that for most people pot is a gateway drug, down more than 20 points from the late 1970s.
  • 72 percent say that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth. And 60 percent say that the federal government should not enforce federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in states where it is legal, like Colorado and Washington.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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