A Pew Research Center report says that, for the first time in 40 years, a poll conducted last month reveals the majority of Americans favor marijuana legalization. The number jumped 11 points since 2010, to 52 percent, with 45 percent against it.
And, 77 percent of those polled recognize the validity of medical marijuana. The majority was smaller in 1997, when an ABC News survey reported 58 percent believed marijuana has legitimate medical uses.
Pew released its report today, noting its researchers polled 1,501 adults between March 13-17. Public opinion has changed dramatically since 1969, when a Gallup study found only 12 percent were in favor.
The Pew study reflects not only attitude changes but new laws that decriminalize the drug and that allow it to be used for medical reasons. New Jersey is one of 18 states that now have medical marijuana despite a federal ban on the substance.