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Majority of Americans Now Favor Legalizing Marijuana

Support for legalization increases across all ages, including younger and older adults

MONDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- A majority of Americans (52 percent) now favor legalizing marijuana, and 72 percent feel that the government efforts to enforce marijuana laws are not worth their cost, according to research published by the Pew Research Center.

Researchers from the Pew Research Center conducted a national survey among 1,501 adults from March 13 to March 17, 2013, regarding attitudes to marijuana.

According to the report, for the first time since 1969, a majority of Americans (52 percent) now support the legalization of marijuana, while 45 percent think that its use should not be legal. Support has increased from 12 percent in 1969, and is up 11 percent since 2010. Among Millennials (those persons born since 1980), 65 percent support legalizing the use of marijuana, compared with just 36 percent in 2008. Support has also increased among older adults, with 50 percent of Baby Boomers and 42 percent of Generation X supporting legalization. Overall, almost half of those surveyed (48 percent) reported having tried marijuana, with consistent results across all age groups, except those aged 65 and older. Twelve percent reported having used marijuana in the past year, with the highest use (27 percent) observed among those younger than 30 years. Only 32 percent believe that smoking marijuana is morally wrong, and 72 percent of Americans feel that government enforcement of marijuana laws are not worth the cost.

"For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana," the report notes.

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