A majority of Americans now say marijuana should be legalized with 72 percent saying the cost of cracking down on the drug isn't worth it, according to a new Pew Research Poll released Thursday.
The poll found 52 percent of Americans support legalization compared to 45 percent who oppose it, marking the first time in more than four decades of Pew surveys that a majority has favored making the drug legal.
Support for the drug has jumped a dramatic seven points from two years ago and it's up 40 points from four decades ago.
As more people support the drug, more people are also trying it out, the poll found.
Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) reported trying marijuana at some point in their lifetime, which is a record high and up eight points from two years ago.
The poll also found little discrepancy in marijuana usage between states that have legalized the drug and states where it is still illegal, meaning the laws haven't necessarily been responsible for increased usage.
Roughly one in 10 of the poll's respondents said they have used marijuana in the past year - a number that stayed pretty consistent across most states.
A majority of those who have used marijuana in the past year said they smoked 'for fun,' (47 percent), rather than for a medical issue, (30 percent), while 23 percent said they used for both reasons.
The shift in attitude toward marijuana may be driven by the fact that fewer people believe it will lead to trying harder drugs.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents say marijuana use will lead to harder drugs, which is down from 60 percent in the 1970s.
Consistent with polls in the past, more younger people are supportive of legalization, with 65 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 32 favoring decriminalization compared to 50 percent of Baby Boomers.
The poll was conducted March 13 to March 17 among 1,501 people ages 18 and older. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.