NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Support for the legalization of marijuana has reached a new high.
According to a new CBS News poll, 56 percent of Americans support the legalization of the drug, up three points from 53 percent. More Americans admit to have tried marijuana too — with 51 percent saying they have tried the drug — up from 43 percent last year.
The steady growth in support for marijuana legalization implicates a shift in public opinion on the drug over the last three decades. According to the poll, only 27 percent of the population supported legalizing marijuana in 1979. Numbers didn’t begin to tip in the favor of marijuana legalization until after 2010, with favor percentages breaking into the slight majority between 2012 and 2015.
Among demographics, younger Americans are the most supportive, with 71 percent of people under 35 voting in favor of legalization, according to the poll. Only 31 percent of Americans 65 and older supported legal marijuana use.
When it comes to politics, a larger percentage of Democrats favor marijuana legalization compared to Republicans, but neither party really placed an importance on how a potential candidate’s view of the subject — or whether the candidate had tried marijuana or not — as a pivotal voting factor.
According to the poll, 90 percent of respondents supported the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, while 60 percent said they believed it was up to the states to decide if legalization was the right course of action.
Medical marijuana has grown in popularity over recent years, with 24 states — including New York and New Jersey — instituting some type of medical marijuana dispensary program. New York State’s medical marijuana program kicked off at the beginning of 2016, with several dispensaries opening in New York City and Long Island. The program rolled out around 18 months after Governor Andrew Cuomo approved the legislation in July 2014.
New York is the 23rd state to approve medical marijuana use.
Marijuana is only legal for both medicinal and recreational use in Washington, Oregon and Colorado.