Washington, DC: Nearly one out of two Americans support amending federal law "to let states legally regulate and tax marijuana the way they do liquor and gambling," according to a national poll of 1,004 likely voters by Zogby International and commissioned by the NORML Foundation.
Forty-six percent of respondents -- including a majority of those polled on the east (53 percent) and west (55 percent) coasts -- say they support allowing states to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. Forty-nine percent of respondents opposed taxing and regulating cannabis, and five percent were undecided.
"Public support for replacing the illicit marijuana market with a legally regulated, controlled market similar to alcohol -- complete with age restrictions and quality controls -- continues to grow," NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "NORML's challenge is to convert this growing public support into a tangible public policy that no longer criminalizes those adults who use marijuana responsibly."
Respondents' support for marijuana law reform was strongly influenced by age and political affiliation. Nearly two-thirds of 18-29 year-olds (65 percent) and half of 50-64 year-olds think federal law should be amended to allow states the option to regulate marijuana, while majorities of 30-49 year-olds (58 percent) and seniors 65 and older (52 percent) oppose such a change.
Among those respondents who identified themselves as Democrats, 59 percent back taxing and regulating marijuana compared to only 33 percent of Republicans. Forty-four percent of Independents and 85 percent of Libertarians say they supported the law change.
Respondents' opinions were also influenced by religious affiliation. Nearly 70 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Jewish, and nearly 60 percent of respondents who said they were non-religious believe that states should regulate cannabis, while only 48 percent of Catholics and 38 percent of Protestants support such a policy.
A previous Zogby poll of 1,024 likely voters found that 61 percent of respondents opposed arresting and jailing non-violent marijuana consumers.