Marijuana legalization advocates are likely rejoicing over the results of a new Gallup poll released on Tuesday. For the first time in its history, the firm found that a majority of Americans support decriminalization.
Six in 10 respondents (58 percent) answered affirmatively when asked, "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?" Thirty-nine percent said that they do not believe the drug should be permitted.
These proportions show a stark difference when compared to the results Gallup collected in 1969 when the firm first began asking the question. At that time, only 12 percent favored marijuana legalization, with 84 percent standing against it.
Image credit: Gallup
Earlier this summer, Gallup noted in a separate poll that 38 percent of Americans have admitted to trying the drug, which the organization claims could be behind increased support for legalizing it. While the usage proportion hasn't changed dramatically sine the 1980s, only four percent of Americans admitted the same in 1969.
Gallup's results show that political independents seem to be driving the changing tides, as their support for legalization has increased 12 percentage points since Nov. 2012.
A partisan analysis shows that Democrats and Republicans have not changed dramatically in how they view the issue. While 65 percent of Democrats support legalizing the drug, only 35 percent of Republicans agree.
Image source: Gallup
The results come after both Washington and Colorado legalized the drug for recreational purposes last year. The majority support for decriminalization will likely give fuel to those seeking to bring the drug into the mainstream (read a history of marijuana in America here).
Interviews were conducted for this latest poll on Oct. 3-6, 2013 using a random sample of 1,028 adults aged 18 and older. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.