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Gallup: Support in U.S. to legalize marijuana reaches all-time high

A marijuana supporter smokes in front of the White House during a protest calling for decriminalization and legalization of recreational pot. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
A marijuana supporter smokes in front of the White House during a protest calling for decriminalization and legalization of recreational pot. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A record share of Americans want to see marijuana legalized in the United States, according to a Gallup survey on Monday.

The new poll showed that 68% of respondents favored making the substance legal, the highest mark Gallup has ever recorded on the issue. Last year, 66% favored legalizing pot.

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Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota approved the use of recreational marijuana in ballot measures on last week's election. Eleven other states have previously voted to do the same.

Thirty-five states have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical use, including Mississippi and South Dakota this month.

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Monday's figure punctuates rising support nationwide for legalizing pot that began about 35 years ago. Gallup found that support hovered at 12% in the early 1970s and reached 28% in 1977 before support fell to 23% in 1985. It has slowly climbed ever since, with a majority (58%) supporting legalization for the first time in 2013.

"Majorities of most demographic subgroups of Americans support legalizing marijuana, including by gender, age, education and household income," Gallup wrote. "Yet there is considerable variation in the extent of support within each group, as men, younger adults, college graduates and those in households with incomes of at least $100,000 are more likely than their counterparts to favor legalization."

While most U.S. adults have warmed to marijuana legalization, many Republican, conservatives and regular churchgoers have not.

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Politically, 83% of Democrats, 72% of independents and 48% of Republicans said they support legalization. Forty-nine percent of conservatives said it should be legal, compared to 87% of liberals and 74% of moderates, Gallup said. Among regular churchgoers, 48% said they support legalization.

Gallup polled more than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide for the survey, which has a margin of error of 4 points.

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