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  • westervilleskid westervilleskid Jun 29, 2013 11:52 AM Flag

    Marijuana Legalization Gains Support, Confounding Policymakers

    WASHINGTON- It took 50 years for American attitudes about marijuana to zigzag from the paranoia of "Reefer Madness" to the excesses of Woodstock back to the hardline of "Just Say No."

    And now, in just a few short years, public opinion has moved so dramatically toward general acceptance that even those who champion legalization are surprised at how quickly attitudes are changing and states that are moving to approve the drug- for medical use and just for casual fun like alcohol.

    Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of Marijuana for medical purposes since the state of California voters made the first move in 1996. Voters in Colorado and Washington state took the next step last year and approved pot for recreational use. Alaska is also pushing for the total legalization for both medical and recreational use in 2014, and a few other states are expected to put recreational use on the ballot in 2016.

    More than half of American adults have tried marijuana, 12 percent f them in just the past year, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. More teenagers now say they smoke marijuana than ordinary cigarettes which has now piqued the interest of the American Tobacco Industry.

    Sixty-two percent of adults favor legalizing marijuana, that's up 11 percentage points just since 2010, according to Pew. Sixty percent Washington shouldn't enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have approved its use. Seventy-two percent believe the governments efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more to taxpayers than they're worth.

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