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Support for Legal Pot Hits New High

A new poll finds that 56% of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana and regulating it like tobacco and alcohol.

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By Chrisanne Grise

05/23/12

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A hefty 56% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana and believe it should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco, according to a new nationwide Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters. Only 36% of the voters asked in the new poll opposed the concept, and 8% were undecided. Public support for the legalization has been building steadily in recent years; as a 2009 poll found 44% of Americans in favor, and another poll last October showed a then-record high support of 50%. "Polling now consistently shows that more voters support legalizing and regulating marijuana than support continuing a failed prohibition approach, yet far too many politicians continue to act as if marijuana policy reform is some dangerous third rail they dare not touch." says Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop who is the executive director of advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "If the trends in public opinion continue in the direction they are going," he adds, "the day is not far away when supporting a prohibition system that causes so much crime, violence and corruption is going to be seen as a serious political liability for those seeking support from younger and independent voters."

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