Most Americans oppose marijuana legalization

07:59, April 21, 2010      

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Amid a heated debate over the use of marijuana, a new poll showed that most Americans oppose its legalization.

The poll was conducted as California voters are set to consider whether to legalize marijuana this fall.

Among those surveyed, 55 percent oppose legalizing marijuana, according to the Associated Press-CNBC poll published on Tuesday.

Young people were more likely to support legalization, while older people were more likely to oppose it.

Opponents highlight marijuana-linked crimes, rising teenage use and the harm that it might cause to some smokers, while proponents argue that marijuana is not as dangerous and addictive as tobacco or alcohol.

The CNBC-AP poll also found that most respondents believe marijuana had medical benefits and should be legal for health purposes.

With the new findings, California's upcoming vote is likely to be a highly watched campaign.

California is considering allowing anyone 21 or older to possess, share and transport up to an ounce for personal use and to grow up to 25 square feet per residence or parcel. It would allow local governments, but not the state, to authorize the cultivation, transportation and sale of marijuana and to impose taxes to raise revenues, local media reported on Tuesday.

California is not alone in weighing legalization. Several state legislatures have considered bills and two other Western states like Nevada and Washington may vote on initiatives.

The CNBC-AP poll, conducted on April 7-12, involved telephone interviews with 1,001 adults nationwide. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.



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