A strong majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legal for medical purposes, but just over half say that pot use for recreation should be illegal, according to a new poll Friday.
Seventy-seven percent say doctors should be allowed to prescribe small amounts of marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses, the CBS New poll found. But with the concept of medical marijuana comes a dose of skepticism - just 31 percent believe the pot purchased under medical marijuana programs is actually being used to alleviate suffering.
A slight majority, 51 percent, of those surveyed believe marijuana for recreational use should be illegal, while 40 percent think pot should be legal, the survey showed.
CBS News first asked the question in 1979, when 69 percent thought that marijuana should be illegal, compared to only 27 percent who thought it should be legal.
Meanwhile, among young Americans under the age of 30, 52 percent favor legalizing pot.
Regionally, the West is most in favor of marijuana legalization – 48 percent favor it, as opposed to 45 percent who oppose it. The West is home to 10 of the 16 states which allow some form of medical marijuana.
The CBS poll was taken Oct. 28-31, with a sample size of 1,033 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.
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