WASHINGTON - For the first time, a majority of Americans back legalizing marijuana, marking significant changes in public opinion toward the drug, especially among the young, a survey by the Pew Research Center showed on Thursday.
The survey showed 52 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, which the federal government deems an illegal drug even as many states have loosened restrictions on "pot" use.
Support for legalizing pot has risen by 11 points since 2010 and was up from just 12 percent backing in 1969, when 84 percent of those polled opposed legalization. In the most recent survey, 45 percent of Americans opposed legalization.
"For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana," Pew said in a statement.