Fifty-five percent of Americans oppose legalizing marijuana, but larger majorities believe pot has medical benefits and the government should allow its use for that purpose, says a new Associated Press-CNBC poll. Only 33 percent favor full legalization. Respondents were skeptical that crime would spike if marijuana were decriminalized or that it would lead more people to harder drugs like heroin or cocaine.
Marijuana use – medically and recreationally – is getting more attention in the political arena. California voters will decide in November whether to legalize the drug, and South Dakota will vote this fall on whether to allow medical uses. California and 13 other states already permit such use. The Obama administration is not targeting marijuana dispensaries if they comply with state laws, a departure from the Bush administration, which sought to enforce the federal ban on marijuana use for any purpose.