Pew: For first time, majority supports marijuana legalization

The survey found that nearly half of Americans — 48 percent — say they have tried the drug. But just 12 percent report using it in the past year. Of those, three in 10 attribute their use to a medical issue, about half say it was "just for fun," while 23 percent say they consumed pot for both reasons.

Half of Americans also say that using marijuana is not a moral issue, versus 12 percent who say it is morally acceptable and 32 percent who say it is morally wrong. Just 38 percent of respondents agree that “for most people the use of marijuana leads to the use of hard drugs," down from six out of every 10 Americans in 1977.

Americans are particularly sour on government attempts to enforce the marijuana prohibition, with 72 percent saying they believe the drug war costs more than its worth. Six in 10 voters say the federal government should not enforce its laws in states like Colorado and Washington that have approved possession and use of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

There is a partisan divide, however. While six in 10 Democrats and independents agree pot should be legal, six in 10 Republicans prefer maintaining the status quo. Still, Republicans agree that the federal government should allow states to legalize use and that government efforts to enforce the ban cost more than they are worth.