A new Gallup poll released earlier this month shows that a record-high percentage of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, with 64 percent of those polled in favor of legalization.
This marks the highest level of public support since the proposal was first made nearly five decades ago; in 1969, just 12 percent of Americans supported legalization, though that figure more than doubled by the end of the next decade.
The number continued to rise, and since 2013, more than half of Americans have consistently voted in support of legalizing marijuana. At present, the drug is still illegal at a federal level, but 29 states – including Seattle, California, Maine and Nevada – have all legalized some form of marijuana use, with eight states and Washington D.C. fully legalizing adult recreational use.
Another interesting revelation in the recent Gallup poll is the fact that a majority of Republicans now support legalization as well; historically, Democrats and independents have been more likely to express their support for marijuana legalization.
In September, members of the GOP made a push for medical marijuana research, breaking rank with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has launched a very vocal, very public campaign against the legalization of the drug. (Earlier this year, Sessions reportedly blocked the Drug Enforcement Agency from approving two dozen proposals for experts to conduct research on the effects of marijuana.)
“There’s no transformation. I’ve always been for any decent medicine,” Utah Senator Orrin Hatch told Rolling Stone in September. “I know that medical marijuana can do some things that other medicines can’t. I’m for alleviating pain and helping people with illness.”