A new high: Poll finds record support for pot legalization

Posted at 8:41 AM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 10:41:09-04

More than 60% of Americans think marijuana use should be legalized, according to the latest CBS News poll.

The number — 61% — is the highest percentage ever recorded in this poll and a five-point increase from the previous year.

Most Americans — 71% — do not think the federal government should try to prohibit the sale and use of marijuana in the many states where the drug has been legalized in some form. And 88% favor medical marijuana use.

Among those who think marijuana should be illegal, only half think the federal government should be involved with the states.

While 63% of Republicans oppose the federal government trying to stop marijuana use in these states, 76% of Democrats and 72% of independents oppose the federal government intervening.

But the White House previously said it expects law enforcement agents to enforce federal marijuana laws when they come into conflict with states where recreational use of the drug is permitted.

“I do believe you will see greater enforcement of it,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in February regarding federal drug laws, which still list marijuana as an illegal substance.

The position is a reversal from the Obama administration’s stance, which laid out in an official memo that the federal government wouldn’t interfere in states where non-medical use of marijuana is allowed.

The spread of drug addiction became a popular topic during the 2016 election. The overwhelming majority of Americans — 69% — think habitual drug use should be treated as an addiction and mental health problem instead of a criminal offense.

This poll was conducted by phone from April 11 to 15 among a random sample of 1,011 adults nationwide and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Both standard land-line phones and cell phones were used in the survey.