The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker

State, national news

October 23, 2013

Majority of Americans agree: Weed should be legal

Here is a short list of things that, according to Gallup, are less popular with Americans than the idea of legalizing pot:

Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court. The president.

In a sweeping cultural shift, comparable perhaps to Americans' quickening support of same-sex marriage, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana use, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday. The survey showed that 58 percent of 1,028 respondents supported legalization, with 39 percent against.

That's a drop for the naysayers from just three years ago, when 50 percent of respondents opposed legalization -- a number already riding a long plummet from a high of 73 percent in the 1990s.

Gallup credited much of the surge to political independents, whose support for legalization jumped from 50 percent to 62 percent in less than a year.

And what a year it has been for marijuana advocates: Last November, voters in Colorado and Washington easily passed ballot initiatives -- 55 percent to 45 percent in each state -- to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana. In Colorado, the legalization measure got more votes than President Barack Obama, who won the state.

After the victory, advocates and politicians alike were unsure how federal law enforcement authorities would react to state laws that contradict federal laws that prohibit marijuana use and list it as a controlled substance.

Those tensions eased after the Justice Department announced in August that federal officials would not interfere with voter-approved laws that legalized recreational marijuana use, as long as the state laws were strictly regulated.

The Gallup poll didn't quiz respondents on why, exactly, they've gotten behind pot use. But the shift can't solely be attributed to personal drug use.

In August, 38 percent of Gallup respondents said they had tried marijuana. That's the highest number ever recorded by a Gallup survey, and yet it's only an incremental increase for a figure that has remained in the mid-30s since the 1980s.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Injured snowy owl ready to be released ST. PAUL (AP) — A rare snowy owl that gained national attention when it was apparently hit by a bus in the nation's capital is scheduled to be released into the wild after a rehab stint in Minnesota. The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • Court case to test 'Buy the Farm' law NEW PRAGUE (AP) — A case set for trial next week is expected to test Minnesota's "Buy the Farm" law, which is meant to require utilities building high-voltage power lines to buy out farms in the way if affected landowners demand it. The case pits th

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge strikes down part of state energy law MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that part of a Minnesota law designed to promote the use of renewable energy is unconstitutional because it attempts to control business that takes place outside state borders — and she barred Minnesota

    April 18, 2014

  • White House updating online privacy policy A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tribut

    April 18, 2014

  • Horse virus cases showing up in Upper Midwest BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State officials in the Upper Midwest are cautioning horse owners about a virus that spreads easily among the animals and can lead to breathing problems, abortions and nervous system disorders. Three cases of equine herpesvirus

    April 18, 2014

  • Bear attacks spark debate: Kill them, or leave them alone? ORLANDO, Fla.—Dallas Smith thinks he has the answer to Central Florida’s black-bear threat, and he’s ready to lock and load it. “I think the fear of God needs to be put back into them,” said Smith, 47, who wants state authorities to lift restriction

    April 18, 2014

  • Tourism push plays up 'Only in Minnesota' ST. PAUL — (AP) — Say goodbye to "More to Explore." Minnesota tourism promoters ushered in a new slogan Thursday that focuses on "Only in Minnesota" experiences as part of their largest-ever advertising campaign. The revamped message kicks off a maj

    April 17, 2014

  • mfp ap pipeline photo Minnesota Pipe Line seeks to expand capacity MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Pipe Line Co. announced plans Thursday to nearly double the capacity of a crude oil pipeline that carries oil from Canada and North Dakota to the two refineries in the Twin Cities that produce most of Minnesota's and much

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Holder asserts his commitment to fighting heroin WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront

    April 17, 2014

  • Less-schooled whites lose longevity, study finds ATLANTA — Barbara Gentry slowly shifts her heavy frame out of a chair and uses a walker to move the dozen feet to a chair not far from the pool table at the Buford Senior Center. Her hair is white and a cough sometimes interrupts her speech, but she

    April 17, 2014