A majority of Americans, in a poll released Wednesday, say it "makes sense to tax and regulate" marijuana. The Zogby poll, commissioned by the conservative-leaning O'Leary Report, surveyed 3,937 voters and found 52 percent in favor of legalization. Only 37 percent opposed.
A previous ABC News/Washington Post poll found 46 percent in support. In California, a Field Poll found 56 percent backing legalization.
Responding to the poll at a press conference Tuesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for an open debate on legalization.
Voters were asked: "Scarce law enforcement and prison resources, a desire to neutralize drug cartels and the need for new sources of revenue have resurrected the topic of legalizing marijuana. Proponents say it makes sense to tax and regulate the drug while opponents say that legalization would lead marijuana users to use other illegal drugs. Would you favor or oppose the government's effort to legalize marijuana?"
Ryan Grim is the author of the forthcoming book This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America