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Marijuana legalization supported by most voters despite wide age gap: Survey

Nearly nine in 10 voters under the age of 35 support legalizing marijuana, while seniors are split roughly 50-50 on ending prohibition, a recent nationwide poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found.

Asked if “the use of marijuana should be made legal in the U.S.,” 60 percent of all 1,120 voters surveyed this month answered in the affirmative, according to the poll results released Wednesday.

Among respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, 85 percent said they are supportive of legalizing marijuana and 12 percent said they are opposed, Quinnipiac said.

Among voters over the age 65, however, 44 percent said they support ending prohibition and 49 percent said they are opposed, pollsters concluded.

“The baby boomers say no to the drug that helped define an era, while the millennials say bring it on,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “In between are enough voters to rubber-stamp legalizing marijuana for recreation as well as medical reasons.”

Marijuana is federally outlawed on account of its classification under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 narcotic prone to abuse and void of medicinal value.

Most states have legalized the medicinal use of marijuana to varying degrees, however, and 10 have passed laws allowing adults to possess and use the plant for recreational purposes.

Overall, 93 percent of voters surveyed by Quinnipiac said they support patients being able to use marijuana if prescribed by a doctor, pollsters reported.

Sixty-three percent of voters said they support erasing criminal convictions handed down for marijuana possession, compared to 29 percent opposed, the survey found.

Several bills currently pending on Capitol Hill would effectively end federal prohibition if passed, including the Marijuana Justice Act introduced last week by presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey Democrat.

Mr. Booker’s bill, co-sponsored by several fellow senators seeking the party’s nomination to run against President Trump in 2020, aims to remove marijuana from the government’s list of controlled substances, in addition to automatically expunging past marijuana use and possession offenses.

A similar poll conducted by Quinnipiac in January 2018 found that Americans supported marijuana legalization by a margin of 58 to 36. More recently, an April survey found that 63 percent of Americans favored legalizing marijuana compared to 33 percent opposed.

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