Authored by Max Greenwood via The Hill
Roughly six in 10 Americans think marijuana should be legalized, according to a new Pew Research survey.
Sixty-one percent of respondents said the substance should be legal. That is slightly more than the 57 percent that said so a year ago and it is representative of the steady increase in support for legalizing marijuana that has taken shape over the past decade.
Support for legalization was the highest among millennials, at 70 percent, according to the Pew survey. They’re followed by Gen Xers, 66 percent of whom support marijuana legalization, and then by Baby Boomers, at 56 percent.
Party affiliation also played a role in support for legalization. Nearly seven in 10 Democrats and 65 percent of Independents support legalizing the substance. Among respondents that identify as Republicans, just 43 percent favor legalization.
Republicans under the age of 40, however, largely support legalization — 62 percent to 38 percent — while Republicans ages 40 to 65 are near-evenly divided on the matter – 48 percent favor legalization and 49 percent do not.
Sixty-seven percent of Republicans 65 and older oppose marijuana legalization, according to the Pew survey.
The findings came a day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to rescind a policy that gave states leeway to legalize recreational marijuana use.
That Obama-era policy, laid out in the so-called Cole memo, discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing marijuana-related charges in states that had legalized the substance.
So far, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug recreationally and dozens of states have moved to allow medical marijuana.
The substance still remains federally prohibited and is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance, in the same class as heroin and LSD.
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