5151079A new poll from Gallup shows that 44 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, with 54 percent opposed. This is the highest-ever support for legalization in the Gallup poll.
The poll comes on the heels of the announcement by the Obama administration yesterday telling federal prosecutors not to focus on medical marijuana users and suppliers in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Gallup reports that support for pot legalization was in the 25 percent range during the 1970s through the 1990s, but jumped to 31 percent in 2001 and has been rising throughout this decade. In the most recent CBS News poll on the subject, conducted in July, 41 percent said they thought marijuana should be made legal.
The Gallup poll also reveals some interesting statistics on attitudes about marijuana legalization based on regional and demographic information. In the West, a majority (53 percent) say they would support legalization in their state as a way to generate revenue through taxing marijuana. Support for such a plan is only in the 30s in the South and Midwest, however, with the East coming in at 44 percent on the question.
When it comes to age, younger people, not surprisingly, are more likely to support pot legalization. According to the poll, 50 percent of those 18 to 49 support legalization, which represents an 11 percent jump since 2005. But just 28 percent over the age of 65 do, with 45 percent support by those between 50 and 64.
When it comes to ideology, the poll finds that liberals are overwhelmingly in favor of legalization (78 percent) and conservatives are overwhelmingly opposed (72 percent). Moderates as a group are just slightly opposed, with 46 in favor and 51 percent opposed.
More CBSNews.com Coverage on Marijuana Legalization Efforts:
Will Health Coverage Pay for Medical Marijuana?
America's Love-Hate History with Pot
Inside Holland's "Half Baked" Pot Policy
Pot No Longer Focus of Anti-Drug Campaigns
Does the Pot Pill Work?
CBSNews.com Special Report: Marijuana Nation