A Reason/Rupe poll released Thursday shows an overwhelming majority of Americans believe that people who smoke, grow and sell marijuana in states that have legalized it should be left alone by the federal government.
Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for adults in November.
Seventy-two percent of those polled say people in permissive states shouldn’t be arrested for smoking pot; 68 percent say growers should not be arrested; and 64 percent say those who sell marijuana should not be arrested.
Fifty-three percent of respondents agree that marijuana should be treated like alcohol.
Attitudes toward marijuana smokers are consistent across political parties, with 74 percent of independents, 73 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of Republicans saying pot smokers in states that have legalized shouldn’t be arrested.
But the poll also showed that attitudes about legalizing pot for recreational use are almost evenly split, with 49 percent opposed and 47 percent in favor, which is with in the poll’s plus-or-minus 3.8 percent margin of error.
All age groups under 64 are in favor of legalization, with those 64 and older opposing it by a 54 to 41-percent margin.
The poll results don’t come as a surprise to marijuana legalization advocates.
“We’ve known that marijuana reform is a mainstream, majority issue for awhile now,” said Tom Angell, the chairman of Berkeley-based Marijuana Majority. “The main problem that we face is that not many politicians realize that yet.”
The poll is based on 1,000 live telephone interviews (500 cellphone, and 500 landline) with adults conducted Jan. 17-21. It was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, which also conducts Pew surveys.
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