Gallup: Record high 60 percent of Americans back legal pot

FILE - In this June 17, 2015 file photo, marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn. Minnesota health officials will allow residents with chronic pain to buy medical marijuana starting in August, they announced Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in a long-awaited decision that could expand enrollment in the state's struggling program by thousands of patients. (AP Photo/Jim Mone,File)
FILE - In this June 17, 2015 file photo, marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn. Minnesota health officials will allow residents with chronic pain to buy medical marijuana starting in August, they announced Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in a long-awaited decision that could expand enrollment in the state's struggling program by thousands of patients. (AP Photo/Jim Mone,File)

NEW YORK (AP) – A record high 60 percent of American adults support legalization of marijuana, according to a new Gallup poll released three weeks before voters in nine states decide whether to expand legal access to pot.

When Gallup first asked about this issue in 1969, 12 percent of Americans supported legalization. By 2000, support had increased to 31 percent and has continued climbing since then, reaching 58 percent last year.

Recreational use of marijuana is legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia. Depending on Election Day results, they could be joined by Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada.

Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota will be deciding whether to permit marijuana for medical purposes. Montanans will vote on whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.

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