Support for marijuana legalization spikes to 58 percent

For the first time, a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, according to a new poll from Gallup.

The poll shows 58 percent now support legalizing recreational marijuana — an unprecedented jump of 10 points from just last year.

A few states have moved in recent years to legalize recreational marijuana, with voters in Colorado and Washington state legalizing pot via ballot referenda last year.

The Obama administration announced recently that it will not challenge those laws, even as the possession and sale of marijuana remain illegal under federal law.

The issue is likely to be on the ballot in several other states in 2014, including potentially in Alaska, Arizona, California, Oregon, Maine, Montana and Vermont.

Many other states have legalized medicinal marijuana but not recreational.

Pro-marijuana legalization groups hailed the poll as proof that public sentiment is shifting.

“The latest poll results point to the absurdity and even venality of persisting with harsh prohibitionist policies,” said Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance.

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