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Pew Research Center: Majority Of Americans Support Legalization Of Marijuana

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File photo of a marijuana plant. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a marijuana plant. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

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SEATTLE (CBS Seattle/AP) – A new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that the majority of Americans would be in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

A reported 52 percent of people in the United States expressed support of the legalization of pot, while 45 percent maintained that it should remain illegal, according to a press release on the survey’s findings.

“Support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010,” the release stated.

The shift in national sentiment on the issue marks is a first in over four decades, the Center observed, adding that “[a] 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12 percent favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84 percent were opposed.”

Millennial adults – those born after 1981 – were especially supportive of the legalization of marijuana, followed closely by members of Generation X. A reported 65 percent of the youngest generation of adults were in favor of legal pot, while 54 percent of Generation X agreed.

Exactly half of the Boomer generation also supports legal measures that permit pot use, Pew observed – though they as an age group have not always felt that way.

“In 1978, 47 percent of Boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support plummeted during the 1980s, reaching a low of 17 percent in 1990,” the release noted. “Since 1994, however, the percentage of Boomers favoring marijuana legalization has doubled, from 24 percent to 50 percent.”

In all, 1,501 American adults were questioned on the matter last month by Pew researchers involved in the study.

Seattle police have already adopted several policies sympathetic to pot users and dealers – instead of arrests, authorities are handing out warning letters to some marijuana dealers contacted by undercover narcotics detectives.

Although Washington voters legalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana, it’s still illegal to sell or use the drug in public. The state is drafting rules for licensed dealers to start selling marijuana by the end of the year.

Seattle police say they gave out six “admonishment letters” last week in a sweep of drug dealers in the University District.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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