A majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, according to a recent poll — which in turn means a majority of U.S. polling firms all agree that support for cannabis legalization is at the highest-ever level.
Fifty-two percent of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center said they support legalizing the use of marijuana by adults, the firm announced Thursday, while 45 percent of respondents said the drug should remain illegal.
The findings are in line with other surveys — a 2013 Field poll, a 2012 Rasmussen Reports survey and a 2011 Gallup poll — that also reported a newfound majority of Americans in favor of legalizing marijuana. That support has grown quickly. Pew reported an 11-point shift in favor of marijuana legalization since 2010.
More Americans than before also admit to using the drug: 48 percent of respondents reported trying marijuana at least once, up 38 percent from a decade ago, Pew reported.
Marijuana has been illegal under federal law since the Controlled Substances Act went into effect in 1970. States, including California, passed laws outlawing its use before then. Prior to that, hemp, which is nonpsychoactive cannabis, was a common farm crop and pharmacies sold tinctures made from the plant.