Poll: For the first time, most Americans think pot should be legal

For the first time in more than 40 years, a majority of Americans believes marijuana should be legal. In 1969, pollsters found that only 12 percent were in favor of the idea and 82 percent opposed it. Now 52 percent think the so-called gateway drug should be legal and 45 percent say it should not be.

This positive view of marijuana cuts across divisions of age, race, sex and geography. Those living in states with strict drug laws tend to hold the same view as those living in states that have decriminalized or legalized marijuana for medical use.

Younger Americans favor legalization by larger margins but so do Baby Boomers, whose view of marijuana has come full circle.

In the late 1970s, 43 percent Americans born between 1946 and 1964 supported legalization before that figure slid to just 17 percent in the late 1980s. Now the approval of legalized pot among Boomers has risen to 50 percent.

Pew pot 1

In general, almost half of Americans have tried pot, most think it’s not a big deal (i.e., it’s not an issue of morality) and most say money spent enforcing laws isn’t worth it.

Indeed, a stunning 72 percent say federal drug enforcement is a waste and 60 percent say the federal government should not enforce federal laws in states that permit the use of marijuana.