An overwhelming majority of Americans want the federal government to lay off marijuana users, growers and sellers in states that have legalized it, according to a new poll.
A poll by the libertarian Reason Foundation found that 72 percent of Americans do not want the federal government to arrest people who use marijuana in states such as Washington and Colorado.
The poll also shows strong opposition to the federal government arresting marijuana growers (68 percent) and sellers (64 percent) in the two states.
Conducted Jan. 17 to Jan. 21 by the Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey, the poll comes as the Obama Administration wrestles with a response to new voter-approved marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado.
Federal law bans all forms of marijuana, which it considers a dangerous drug with no medical value.
Americans apparently disagree, according to the poll. It found a majority (53 percent) believed that marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol.
The poll said the 1,000 adults surveyed were almost evenly split on legalization, with 47 percent favoring and 49 percent opposing. But clearly a strong majority thought the Obama Administration should respect the rights of those states that have legalized weed.
With a 3.8 percent margin of error, the poll asked 63 questions on national issues, with just six focused on marijuana. A majority of respondents were at least 45 years old. Most had an annual household income under $60,000. Only 22 percent considered themselves Republicans, with 36 percent identifying as Democrat and 32 percent as Independent. Forty-two percent said that someone in their household owned a gun.