Chronic City: Seeds of Change — Marijuana Going Mainstream

Two major new polls underscored a fact many of us already know: When it comes to marijuana, the political ground is shifting underneath our...

Two major new polls have underscored a fact many of us already know: When it comes to marijuana, the political ground is shifting underneath our feet — and the change is picking up momentum as it goes.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll released yesterday indicates that a record 46 percent of Americans now favor “legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use.” The level of support has more than doubled in 12 years. Back in 1997, only 22 percent supported legalization in an ABC poll.

The most striking changes in the past two decades are a 29-point advance in support for legalization among Democrats, up to 49 percent, and a 27-point gain among independents, now up to 53 percent. Republicans lag behind with a 10-point gain to just 28 percent support.

The other poll released yesterday by San Francisco's Field Research Corporation, indicates that support for marijuana legalization is rapidly approaching super-majority status in California (which, no doubt, is already the case in San Francisco itself). An unprecedented 56 percent of California voters agree with the statement: “Legalize marijuana for recreational use and tax its proceeds.”

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