According to Gallup, for the first time 50% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. This comes as Barack Obama ramps up his crackdown on cancer patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes.
According to Gallup, support is highly dependent upon age:
Support for legalizing marijuana is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62% approval among those 18 to 29 down to 31% among those 65 and older.
Gallup goes on to explain that this is the highest support for marijuana legalization has been since they began tracking opinions on the issue in 1969, when support was only 12%.
For those of you jumping out of your seats right now, don't get too excited. Legislative action on major social issues like this typically lags behind public opinion for several years, even a decade. We have seen gay marriage meet a similar landmark recently without garnering support from even our very liberal president. Remember also that hundreds of thousands of prison guards, police, border patrol agents and DEA agents across the country would stand to lose their jobs if legalization were implemented, and would therefore lobby very hard to keep legal marijuana a pipe dream. So would the politically influential prescription drug, tobacco and alcohol companies who all view marijuana as a potential competitor. And, even if all of these obstacles could be surmounted, the US is currently beholden to several international treaties that would technically prevent it from legalizing marijuana for personal use outright, if not decriminalizing or legalizing only for medicinal use.