U.S.

Marijuana Legalization Hits All-time High Support, Even From Republicans

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A strong majority of Americans (64 percent) now say marijuana should be legal, according to a new Gallup poll. Getty Images

The movement for marijuana legalization is riding high. Like so high, man.  

A strong majority of Americans (64 percent) now say marijuana should be legal, according to a new Gallup poll—and even support from Republicans is suddenly blazing. It is the strongest public support for legal weed ever recorded in the survey and falls in line with a national trend of more love for bud.

Views on legalizing pot have shifted drastically over the past decade. In 2001, only about a third of the U.S. public supported legalization, according to Gallup. But since 2013, a majority of U.S. adults have steadily been in favor of making ganja use OK in the eyes of the law.

For the first time ever, a majority of Republicans—51 percent—support legalization, which stands in stark contrast with the Trump administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said marijuana is only "slightly less awful" than heroin, and has vowed to crack down even on medical marijuana and pot in the few states that have legalized it.

Meanwhile, roughly seven out of 10 Democrats want to make toking up legal.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but eight states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational weed. Maine passed a legalization bill earlier this year, but its Republican governor, Paul LePage, has said he won't sign it. 

In August, Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey introduced legislation to legalize marijuana nationwide, citing the disproportionate punishments people of color have faced for using it.

"For decades, the failed War on Drugs has racked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for marijuana-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn-apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars," Booker said in a Facebook post as he introduced the legislation.

In 2016, more people were arrested in the U.S. for pot possession—roughly 587,700—than for all crimes the FBI classifies as violent, including murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery. 

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