Support for legalizing marijuana among U.S. adults has reached a new high, according to a poll out Monday.
According to Gallup, 66 percent of adults now support legalizing the drug. That's the highest percentage ever and nearly double the level of support seen in the early 2000s.
Support for legalizing marijuana has grown over the last 15 years and found majority support for the first time in 2013. Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug that is banned along with other pharmaceuticals like heroin.
Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana in 2013, and a handful of other U.S. states have followed. Four states are voting on measures in this year’s November midterm elections to allow for the recreational or medicinal use of pot: North Dakota, Michigan, Utah, and Missouri.
Last week, Canada became just the second country in the world to legalize the recreational use of the drug.
Support for legalization comes even a Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he would crack down on marijuana at the federal level. However, states have continued to legalize it since he assumed his position atop the Justice Department in February 2017.
[Opinion: Trump should laugh off his fearmongering marijuana committee]
In January, Sessions rescinded the so-called Cole Memorandum, which discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing marijuana charges wherever the drug is legal under state laws. In the memo to U.S. attorneys, Sessions called the previous administration’s policy “unnecessary” and said federal marijuana statutes “reflect Congress’s determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity is a serious crime.”
But support for legalization continues to rise, even among Republicans. Last year, a slim majority of Republicans supported legal marijuana, and that grew to 53 percent this year.
Views that marijuana should be legalized grew to new highs among Democrats, 75 percent, and independents, 71 percent, this year, as well.
When asked about litigation against states passing their own laws that are contrary to federal law, a senior Justice Department official said in January that “further steps are still under consideration.”
Six states have legalized recreational and medical marijuana and allow the sale recreationally. Two states plus the District of Columbia have legalized both recreational and medicinal marijuana, but do not allow the outright sale of the drug. Another 21 states allow medicinal marijuana use only.