Yet perhaps the biggest indicator of legal marijuana's effects on American society comes in the form of a new Gallup poll concerning the subject, which indicates - for the first time ever - that the majority of Republicans think pot should be legalized. The percentage of Gallup respondents who support legalization has climbed consistently since 2012, when 48 percent of those polled said they supported it. Sixty-seven percent of independent respondents said in this year's poll they back the proposal.
They say previous year support for legalizing marijuana was at 60%, the all-time record at the time. Support increased precipitously in the next decade.
Fourteen years ago, public opinion was an inverse image of where it's at today: 64 percent of adults surveyed opposed marijuana legalization, 34 percent said it should be legal and 2 percent had no opinion.
Meanwhile, 72 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of political Independents supported legalization. Gallup attributes the growing consensus to "efforts to legalize marijuana at the state level" and the success that followed. While still illegal at the federal level, the issue was featured on a number of state ballot initiatives in 2016, and with eight states and the District of Columbia having fully legalized marijuana, more than one in five Americans live in a state where they can legally enjoy use of the drug. Most recently marijuana was legalized in 2016 in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and ME via citizen referenda and voters in a number of other states approved legalization for medicinal purposes. The margin of error is 4 percentage points. But if more and more Republican voters begin to support pro-marijuana candidates during the primaries, they could begin to shift marijuana policies throughout the United States.
As Gallup notes in its analysis of the data, there are many similarities between the trend that we've seen in this polling and the polling on the issue of same-sex marriage that showed support for marriage equality increasing at a more rapid pace over a very short period of time.
Over half the USA has legalized some form of marijuana use.
The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 substance with no known medical benefits, but the Trump administration has refrained so far from interfering in states with medical and recreational marijuana laws in place. Sessions could have an uphill battle in shoring up support for his anti-marijuana crusade if he cannot even count on his own party.