Two states have legalized marijuana, the NYPD has begun to dial back the rate of cannabis arrests, and samples of the psychotropic substance are being handed out in public like coupons for gym memberships. Today Gallup released a poll showing that 58% of Americans support legalizing marijuana. When Gallup first asked the question in 1969, only 12% favored its legalization, which makes sense given marijuana's relative obscurity in the 1960s.
"The movement to legalize marijuana mirrors the relatively recent success of the movement to legalize gay marriage, which voters have also approved now in 14 states," Gallup's statement notes.
Rob Kampia, the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement that "Most Americans realize it is unjust, wasteful, and counterproductive to invest in the criminalization of adults for using a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol."
The U.S. spends more than $51 billion each year to wage the War on Drugs; 749,825 people were arrested last year for a marijuana violation, 88% of them for mere possession.
California's Lieutenant Governor is spearheading an initiative to legalize pot in his state next year, a move that is estimated to reap $1.4 billion in annual revenue.