POLITICS
01/31/2013 04:26 pm ET | Updated Jan 31, 2013

Poll: Marijuana Users Following State Law Shouldn't Be Arrested, Majority Says

While Americans are split on legalizing recreational marijuana use, most say the federal government shouldn't make arrests in states where it's legal, according to a poll released Thursday.

The Reason-Rupe poll, which is conducted by the libertarian Reason Foundation, found that opposition to making recreational usage of marijuana legal edged out support, 49 percent to 47 percent.

But a majority also wanted the federal government not to interfere in states like Colorado and Washington, where voters have legalized marijuana. Growing, selling and using it remains illegal under federal law.

Nearly three quarters of those polled said the federal government shouldn't arrest people who use marijuana in states where it's been legalized. Smaller majorities of 68 and 64 percent, respectively, said people shouldn't be arrested for growing or selling it in those states.

Republicans were significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to say that marijuana should stay illegal. They were also several points more likely to agree with the federal government making arrests.

The Obama administration has sent mixed messages on how it intends to deal with states allowing recreational marijuana use. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and the state's attorney general met earlier in the month with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the laws, but the Justice Department has yet to say what actions it will take.

The poll surveyed 1,000 adults by phone between Jan. 17 and Jan. 23.

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