A new public opinion poll released today by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that 53 percent of Maryland voters support the legalization of recreational marijuana. These results were released just after Maryland’s new ban on synthetic marijuana went into effect on the first of the month. Earlier this year Maryland became the 19th state to legalize marijuana when Governor Martin O’Malley signed the legislation into law.

The new poll also revealed that an even greater majority of Marylanders – 68 percent – back recreational pot decriminalization in which possession of less than ounce would be a misdemeanor. Just 26 percent of those surveyed opposed decrim. Maryland legalized medical marijuana in 2003. 

These stats are on the rise over the last two years. In 2011, 57 percent of Marylanders favored decriminalization and only 40 percent supported outright legalization. The poll was conducted in late September among 678 Maryland voters with a plus-minus margin of error of 3.8 percent. 

An ACLU report released in June revealed that Maryland was fourth in the country in marijuana arrests and wasted over $106 million in tax revenue enforcing pot offenses in 2010 alone. And even before the release of this poll, in September, MPP predicted Maryland would be one of the next ten states to legalize recreational cannabis, the only Southern US state to be included on the list.