Poll: Majority wants marijuana legalized

Another new poll shows a majority of Americans would like marijuana to be legal.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 55 percent think marijuana should be legal, while 44 percent think it should not. The 55 percent who support legalization is up 12 points from just more than a year ago.

CNN isn't the first pollster to show a spike in support for marijuana legalization. Both Pew and Gallup have shown similar trends, with new majorities supporting legalization.

Gallup showed support for legalization spiking to 58 percent in a poll released in October.

The CNN poll also shows that majorities of Americans do not see pot as physically or mentally harmful. They are about evenly split when it comes to whether it is addictive and leads to use of other drugs. Only 19 percent see its use as a major problem in society today.

The rise in support comes as Colorado and Washington have become the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Colorado's dispensaries began selling the drug last week, and Washington will soon join in.

Marijuana remains illegal according to federal law, but the Justice Department has said it won't pursue legal action in either state that has legalized the substance.

Recreational marijuana sales are underway in Colorado, attracting a new type of tourism to the state. Govbeat's Reid Wilson breaks down four things pot tourists should know about the new laws. (Davin Coburn/The Washington Post)
Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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