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The majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. The findings represent a shift in public opinion, particularly among young people, Reuters reports.

This is the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue that a majority of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to the Pew Research Center. They found 52 percent of those surveyed favor legalization, while 45 percent oppose it.
The survey found young people are most likely to support legalization. Among Americans ages 18 and 32, the survey found 65 percent favor legalizing marijuana, up from 36 percent in 2008.

There has also been a shift in attitudes toward marijuana among Baby Boomers, the survey found. Half favor legalization, up from 17 percent in 1990.

Almost three-quarters of people surveyed said government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth, the article notes. The survey found 60 percent think the federal government should not enforce federal laws banning marijuana use in states where the drug is legal.

The survey found partisan differences in attitudes toward marijuana: 59 percent of Democrats favor legalization, compared with 37 percent of Republicans.

Tom Angell, Chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, told Reuters, “You’re going to start seeing more politicians running toward our movement instead of away from it, just as we’ve seen happen” with same-sex marriage.


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