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Record National Support Gives Marijuana Activists Hope For Election Victories

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

A record 60 percent national support is giving marijuana activists hope for victories this election in legalizing marijuana for recreational use in five states.

Five states are putting recreational marijuana legalization on the ballot for this November, with an additional four states voting on medical marijuana. A recent poll from Gallup shows that 60 percent of Americans support legalization. The new poll registers the largest support for marijuana legalization by Gallup since it started asking the question 47 years ago. Changing cultural attitudes to the drug and promises of massive revenue potential are helping drive the push for legalization this election cycle, reports Business Insider.

California’s Proposition 64 holds roughly 60 percent support and would allow anyone over 21 to possess one ounce of Marijuana and grow up to six plants in their home. A 10 percent sales tax will be in place on all sales and could earn the state more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Legalization nationwide would drive in $28 billion in annual federal and state revenue, according to a study by the  Tax Foundation.

“The topline number [in the Gallup poll] obviously bodes well for the marijuana measures on state ballots next month,” Tom Angell, an activist with Marijuana Majority, told Business Insider. “But what gives me even more hope are the demographic breakdowns showing just how strongly young people support ending prohibition.”

Roughly 77 percent of adults aged 18 to 34 support legalization, according to Gallup. For people age 55 and older, support has grown by 16 percent in the last decade to 45 percent. Helping widen support are recent studies showing legalization does not lead to higher teen smoking rates and is linked with reduced opioid abuse, reports USA Today.

Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada also have recreational legalization on their ballots with similar possession laws to California and 10 to 15 percent sales taxes. Legalization holds majority support in current polling in Maine, Massachusetts, California and Nevada, however public opinion in Arizona is still split at roughly 50 percent support.

“If recreational marijuana use becomes legal in California this year, many other states will likely follow, because the ‘Golden State’ often sets political trends for the rest of the U.S.,” Gallup said in a statement. “As a result, the percentage of Americans living in states where pot use is legal could rise from the current 5 percent to as much as 25 percent if all of these ballot measures pass.”

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