Late last year, Gallup found that U.S. public support for legalizing marijuana surged to 66 percent. The poll's results were particularly noteworthy because, as Statista's Niall McCarthy notes, a newfound majority of Republicans and Americans over 55 supported legalization for the first time.
The increasing popularity about giving marijuana the green light raises a pretty obvious question which has been rarely asked: why do supporters want it legalized and why do opponents want it to remain out of reach? Gallup polled Americans once again about marijuana last week, this time focusing on the arguments for and against legalization.
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They found that 86 percent of supporters think medical benefits are a very important reason to legalize the drug. 70 percent cited freeing up legal resources to tackle other crime as important while 60 percent said its very important for people to have freedom and personal choice. How did supporters feel about the economic benefits of pot given that Colorado surged passed $1 billion in state revenue from the green stuff last week? Just over half of supporters think tax revenue for local and state governments is an important reason for legalization.
Around a third of Americans oppose giving recreational marijuana the thumbs up but what are their most important reasons for wanting it to stay out of circulation? Driver safety was at the top of list with 79 percent of opponents polled saying it was the most important factor in their opposition. There is also a fear that marijuana could become a gateway drug and 69 percent of those opposed said "leading people to use stronger drugs" is a very important reason in being against legalization.