CBS News released their first ever poll to show nationwide majority support for legalization. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed by CBS said the use of marijuana should be legal, up from 45% who supported legalization in their poll last April. In October of 2011, CBS reported 51% in support of prohibition.

CBS’s poll also showed demographic trends mirrored in recent polls by Pew and Gallup. The only age group that still has majority support for maintaining prohibition is age 65 and older. There still remains an 11-point gender gap, with 57% of men in support of legalization and only 46% of women. Republicans and conservatives still support prohibition at 61%.

Medical marijuana continues to enjoy widespread public support, with CBS reporting 86% of the nation believes doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana for medical use. However, only one third (34%) of Americans believe medical marijuana is currently being used for serious medical illnesses. Despite that, three out of four (77%) of the people who think medical marijuana is being used for other purposes still support the right of doctors to prescribe medical marijuana.

When asked about deciding the legality of marijuana, 62% of Americans believe that should be left up to the individual states to decide. Republicans overwhelmingly agree (72%) that marijuana legalization is a states’ rights issue, while 40% of Democrats still believe the federal government ought to determine the issue and 56% support states making the decision.

CBS News’s poll is the thirteenth poll in the past five years to show majority support for marijuana legalization.

1. Zogby International                               5/6/2009                   52%

2. Angus Reid Global Monitor                   12/10/2009              53%

3. Angus Reid Global Monitor                   7/21/2010                52%

4. Angus Reid Global Monitor                   8/9/2011                  55%

5. Gallup                                                   10/12/2011               50%

6. Rasmussen                                           5/12/2012                56%

7. Quinnipiac University                            11/28/2012              51%

8. Angus Reid Global Monitor                   11/29/2012              54%

9. Public Policy Polling                              12/4/2012                58%

10. Pew Center                                           4/4/2013                52%

11. Gallup                                                   10/22/2013             58%

12. CNN / Time Magazine                           1/7/2014                55%

13. CBS News                                             1/23/2014              51%


"Radical" Russ Belville is the host of "The Russ Belville Show."