Polls suggest there is substantial voter support for initiatives in Colorado and Washington that would allow recreational use of marijuana, according to The Wall Street Journal. Voters in Oregon, where a similar measure will appear on the ballot in November, are split.
All of the measures would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for anyone over age 21, and would allow taxable retail sales of the drug. The measures would conflict with federal law, which outlaws marijuana.
The governors of all three states are opposed to the measures.
Earlier this month, nine former administrators of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging him to oppose the three state measures. The letter stated that not opposing the measures would indicate acceptance.
A Gallup poll conducted in 2011 found half of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, up from 46 percent the previous year. Among adults under age 30 and those who identified themselves as liberal, support of legalization was more than 60 percent. In contrast, 31 percent of Americans over age 65 said they support legalization of marijuana.
The first Gallup poll that asked about Americans’ opinion on the topic, in 1969, found 12 percent of Americans favored legalizing marijuana. Support for legalization passed 30 percent in 2000, and 40 percent in 2009.