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Support growing nationwide for legalized marijuana

Posted: 4:41 PM, Oct 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-12 17:20:05-04

Right now, nine states have measures on the ballot that could legalize marijuana in some form, and a new survey out Wednesday shows more people than ever support that idea.

According to the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of U.S. adults say the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 37 percent say it should be illegal. Ten years ago just 32 percent favored legalization, while 60 percent were opposed.

It's been about a year since Tru Cannabis opened in Aurora, Colorado — one of four states and the District of Columbia that have passed measures to legalize recreational marijuana use. General manager Jon Scarpelli says the support from the community has been strong.

"It's always been there for us," Scarpelli says. "All of the neighbors that are really truly liking us being here and I think even more people from out of state are coming into see our stores in our community here and making sure that they wanted for their community in the future."

Traditionally, young adults have been behind the shift of public support, but now support is rising among millennials and baby boomers as well. Another big factor is results.

Robin Peterson oversees Marijuana Enforcement in Aurora. She says aside from some minor issues with security and odor, it's been a positive experience.

"We've done pretty well," Peterson says. "There hasn't been a lot of things that we've had to change it was pretty well thought out."

Peterson says revenues from marijuana has helped the city.

"We've had some transportation projects," Peterson recalls. " We've had to help out on a bond issue for a recreational center for the homeless so those are very positive projects."

This November, nine states will vote on measures to establish or expand legal marijuana use. 

Twenty-five states plus Washington D.C.., Guam and Puerto Rico have legalized marijuana in some form.

The study also found opinions on the legalization of marijuana are very different based on party affiliation.

Sixty-six percent of Democrats favor legalizing marijuana compared with 41 percent of Republicans.