Nearly two-thirds of Americans support legalizing marijuana, a new poll has found.
According to an Associated Press/University of Chicago poll conducted in February and released this week, 61 percent of Americans believe the drug should be legalized, while just 39 percent do not.
Among those who would like to see the drug legalized, 24 percent believe the purchase of marijuana should require a doctor’s prescription, while 33 percent believe the drug should be legalized for recreational purposes, or without restrictions. An additional 43 percent said there should be limits placed on the amount of marijuana that can be purchased at any one time.
The new survey mirrors the findings of a Gallup poll in October that found 58 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization, a record high in the polling organization’s 46-year history, according to the Sacramento Bee.
The recent polling represents a significant surge of support for legalization from just a few years ago, when a 2012 CBS News poll found that 47 percent of Americans favored it, and 51 percent did not.
Support for legalization has also risen sharply in California, the state that first legalized marijuana for recreational use in 1996. A March 2015 Public Policy Institute of California poll found that 53 percent of California residents favor legalization, a record high.
Legalization activists are gearing up for a major campaign ahead of the 2016 election. A number of activist groups have begun collecting signatures to place a measure on the state’s November ballot, but none so far have qualified.