Even though several other polls in the past year have shown majority support for cannabis reform, this is the first time that Gallup claims to have gotten a majority response.
And this ain't some "slim majority", folks: the disparity between those polled as favoring legalization and those opposed is in the double-digits. (on their Facebook page, NORML posted- "There is 19% more support for legalization than opposition. That is very, very significant.")
More voters supported marijuana that gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman in California (prop 19). More Colorado voters pulled the lever for pot in 2012 than they did for Obama. As activists have been pointing out for the past half-decade, this issue is now mainstream, and supporters or the war against marijuana are now increasingly becoming the fringe element (which is amusing, given that politicians for years called marijuana legalization a 'fringe' issue)
The DNC finally woke up in 2012 and realized that the marijuana vote, while no silver bullet, was at least ONE strategy for energizing the lackluster youth vote (not to mention Independents).
If Americans are alarmed or angry about CO and WA legalizing marijuana, then the Gallup polls (and many others) aren't showing it:
For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized. This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization.
Why the change in attitudes, despite an uninterrupted propaganda campaign by local, state, and federal government agencies?
There is evidence that baby boomers have begun using marijuana more and more.
I have no data for this, but I speculate that boomers will continue to hop off the legalization fence as they realize that rising cancer rates mean a greater need for cancer cures. Fortunately, pot figures to be at least a component in future cures, based on voluminous amounts of cannabis research, such as this recent find:
The concomitant administration of various non-psychoactive plant cannabinoids demonstrates synergistic anti-cancer activity in human leukemia cells, according to preclinical trial data published online this week in the journal Anticancer Research.
Investigators from Saint George’s, University of London assessed the anti-cancer potential of three non-psychoactive cannabinoids ( cannabidiol, cannabigerol, and cannabigevarin) and their respective acids on two types of leukaemia cell lines.
Interesting enough, we have known for several years now (thanks to UCSD research) that medical benefits of cannabis can be obtained without even using the chemical associated with recreational highs (THC), although it is worth noting that THC has shown much promise in cancer trials as well for certain forms of cancer. As more people realize that science has already decoupled the medical and recreational aspects of marijuana, the DEA/feds will continue to have trouble disseminating propaganda about marijuana having "no medical value". [current law stipulates that cocaine has medical value, but not marijuana]
Meanwhile, Mexico City is pursuing a plan to remove criminal penalties for marijuana, and Uruguay* will reportedly be selling it for one dollar per gram next year.
The Supreme Court is trying to avoid the issue as much as it can, refusing to hear an appeal from medical marijuana advocacy groups who had challenged the DEA's decision to maintain marijuana's status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, but another appeal from 2011 is still pending (led by the governors of the medical marijuana states of Rhode Island and Washington)
some more good news:
Voters in Texas are among the latest to hop on board the marijuana legalization bandwagon, according to a poll released this week. The Public Policy Polling survey had support for marijuana legalization at 58%, support for medical marijuana at 58%, and support for decriminalizing small-time possession at 61%.