A recent Gallup poll released this week revealed that for the first time, a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana.
58 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. The new figures represent an 8-point increase from the previous record of 50 percent in 2011, and a 10-point increase from November 2012.
"With Americans' support for legalization quadrupling since 1969, and localities on the East Coast such as Portland, Maine, considering a symbolic referendum to legalize marijuana, it is clear that interest in this drug and these issues will remain elevated in the foreseeable future," wrote Art Swift, Gallup's managing editor.
The Gallup poll surveyed 1,028 Americans by phone between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6 and found that the largest increase in support of legalization came from independent voters, of which 62 percent support legalization. Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of 18-29 year olds support legalization.
More states are considering their own legalization legislation including Pennsylvania. Over the summer State Senator Daylin Leach (D-17) introduced Senate Bill 528 that proposes to permit the possession, production, and use of marijuana by individuals who are over 21 years of age.
Speaking in favor of the bill, Senator Leach has said, "We spend $350 million a year in Pennsylvania just on the arrest, incarceration and monitoring of people for marijuana-related offenses. We can save all of that if we ended prohibition. Plus, we could tax this and gain revenue," according to FOX 43 Central Pennsylvania.
Recently the NAACP released a report, "The War on Marijuana in Black and White," that claimed there had been more than 8 million marijuana arrests in the U.S. between 2001 and 2010.
The report also claimed that it costs approximately $3.6 billion a year to enforce marijuana laws at present.