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Originally published April 2 2011

Almost half of Americans support marijuana legalization

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A new Gallup poll has found that more Americans than ever favor the legalization of marijuana for general use, while the number of people opposed to it is now at an all-time low. The findings come at a pivotal time when California is set to vote on legalization of the crop, and indicate a significant shift in public perception about the controversial plant.

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s when Gallup first began polling the public about marijuana, 12 percent or less of the population supported legalizing marijuana. That percentage gradually increased to 28 percent in 1978, followed by a short period of decline into the 1980s. Between the mid 1980s and about 2000, support increased only slightly until getting a major boost in the early 2000s.

Today, about 46 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for general use, while fifty percent are opposed to it. Support for medicinal use only, however, has dropped slightly from 78 percent in 2005 to 70 percent today, even though support for general use is now at an all-time high.

"Liberal" people between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most supportive of legalizing marijuana while "conservative" Republicans are the least supportive. Men are more likely than women to support marijuana, and people living in Western states are more supportive of it than those living in Midwestern and Southern states.

Medicinally, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana has been shown to benefit cancer patients by inhibiting tumor growth and causing cancer cell death ( Marijuana is also known to treat chronic pain, improve mood, and even fight Alzheimer's disease (

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