A Gallup survey released on Oct. 22 shows that for the first time of a clear majority of Americans – 58 percent – supports legalizing marijuana.
Gallup said the finding is a sharp contrast to the results of a survey conducted in 1969, when 12 percent of Americans supported legalizing marijuana.
Public support for legalization doubling in in the 1970s, reaching 28 percent, plateaued during the 1980s and 1990s and then steadily went up, reaching 50 percent in 2011.
The Gallup survey found 38 percent of Americans admitted to trying marijuana.
Support increased by 10 points after November 2012, when Washington and Colorado voters agreed to legalizing marijuana.
Last week, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, said his state should legalize the drug, which could happen in a ballot initiative next year.
Gallup, in its review of the poll results, said increased support for legalizing marijuana “mirrors the relatively recent success of the movement to legalize gay marriage.”
About 62 percent of independents support legalizing marijuana, a number that’s up 12 points from November.
There remains a divide with Republicans on one side, opposing legalization, and independents and Democrats on the other, favoring legalization, according to Gallup.
The only age group that remains opposed legalizing marijuana is the 65 and older category, but support among seniors climbed 14 points in two years.
Among Americans ages 18-29, support is at 67 percent.
The poll was conducted Oct. 3-6 using a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older.
The margin of error is plus or minus four points.