Marijuana enthusiasts in the United States celebrate April 20 — or 4/20 — as an informal holiday, but this year they have something else to get excited about: New polling data show support for legalization of the drug is at an all-time high.
Sixty percent of Americans say they support the legalization of marijuana, according to a poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University. The same poll taken in December 2012 showed 51 percent of respondents supported legalization.
"From a stigmatized, dangerous drug bought in the shadows, to an accepted treatment for various ills, to a widely accepted recreational outlet, marijuana has made it to the mainstream," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.
According to the poll, an overwhelming 94 percent of respondents said they support the use of marijuana by adults for medicinal purposes — also the highest level of support seen in the poll's history.
Seventy-three percent of Americans said they oppose enforcement of federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.
Currently, 29 states have legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes, and eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use.
Marijuana advocates across the country held events to observe the annual 4/20 quasi-holiday. In Washington, D.C., activists planned to distribute free joints to congressional staffers on Capitol Hill. However, Capitol Police interrupted the event, arresting two women and one man, and charging them with possession with intent to distribute pot. Four other women were charged with simple possession.
One of the organizers, Nikolas Schiller, told the Associated Press that police "decided to play politics'' with the demonstration and that the people arrested committed no crimes. "We'll see them in court,'' Schiller said.