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Poll finds that majority of police would like to see marijuana legalized for medicinal use

In this photo taken Wednesday June 20, 2012, David Kosmecki, left, talks to Idaho State Police Trooper Justin Klitch in Fruitland, Idaho. Kosmecki was stopped and charged with possession of marijuana after leaving Oregon. As the Evergreen state works out the various complications of its new law, including the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, neighbors of Washington are watching with curiosity, and perhaps some apprehension. Idaho officials already have their hands full with Idahoans obtaining medical marijuana cards out of state. The Gem State borders three medical marijuana states, a reality that has caused medical marijuana arrests to outpace those of traffickers or other users. Although Idaho is a largely conservative state, there are pockets defined by borders and demographics that could create new challenges for law enforcement. (AP Photo/Nigel Duara)

A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that out of almost 8,000 police officers, more than two-thirds believe that marijuana should be legalized in some form or fashion.

According to the survey, 32 percent of officers nationwide said the drug should be legalized for use both medicinal and recreational, while 37 percent believe it should be legalized for medicinal use only, with 30 percent believing it shouldn't be at all legal.

The public at large is more lenient than police on this issue, as 17 percent more of the general public wants it legalized for both medicinal and recreation usage at 49 percent. In terms of just legalizing it for medicinal use, the public actually clocks in at approving less than police at 35 percent. Only 15 percent of the public believes pot should be illegal.

Interestingly enough, nonviolent drug offenders have been going to prison less and less in states like Texas due to criminal justice reform measures that put them into rehabilitation rather than prison. Due to these changes, Texas has seen a drop in crime rates, as well as recidivism rates in prisons.

The benefits of legalization have been shown to not just stop at influencing crime statistics. According to Colorado's Department of Revenue, the state collected $70 million in tax revenue during one fiscal year. This is much larger than Colorado's alcohol tax, which was $42 million.


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