While 44 percent of Americans support the idea of making marijuana use legal, 51 percent oppose it, according to the poll, conducted March 29 - April 1.
The percentage supporting legalization is similar to what it was last summer, but it has grown from 30 years ago when just 27 percent thought the use of marijuana should be made legal.
The interesting thing is looking at the regional breakdown of opinions:
SHOULD THE USE OF MARIJUANA BE MADE LEGAL?
Yes No Don't Know Northeast 44% 52 4 Midwest 36% 54 10 South 40% 55 5 West 55% 41 4
In the Western part of the US, legalizing cannabis is supported by a solid majority, 55%, and opposed by only 41%. This is important because citizens of California will be voting on a state ballot initiative to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana in November. Groups in Washigton state and Oregon are also working to gather the necessary signatures to get similar marijuana legalization initiatives put on the ballot in those states as well.
Not unexpectedly, there is a serious age divide on the issue of legalization. 54% of American under 35 support legalization while only 29% of Americans over 65 share the same view. With a strong majority of people on the West coast in favor marijuana legalization, the success of the California ballot initiative (and possibly in Washington and Oregon) will likely hinge on the demographics of who turns out for the midterm election.