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Fifty five percent now favor legalizing marijuana

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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.

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