POLL: More Americans Support Marijuana Use

The justice department is expected to recommend tougher sentences for marijuana growers, sellers and users at a time when new polling numbers show more Americans favor medicinal and recreational use.

The latest Harvard-Harris Poll shows nearly half of all Americans believe marijuana should be legalized for both personal and medical use. 

"A lot of people don't want to live in a pill bottle, they don't want to use opioids," says LaTonya Whittington, spokesperson for Houston NORML.  "But it's easier for a doctor to prescribe you something that is addictive and could kill you."

Thirty-seven percent say it should be legalized solely for medicinal purposes, meaning that 86 percent of respondents support legalizing the plant in some form.

Only 14 percent say marijuana should be illegal.

Whittington says the feds crackdown is contrary to efforts to decriminalize marijuana in Harris County and elsewhere in Texas.

"That was great for Harris County," she says of the plan put in place by the District Attorney to allow up to four ounces of marijuana for first-time offenders.  "So many of us have been in bad situations, especially in my black community, which is looked at in a certain way."

Efforts to expand that statewide have stalled in Austin.

"They need to be voted out, and our people, everyone, black, white and Hispanic need to call our representatives and let them know how we feel," says Whittington.  "The bigger voice, the louder you are to be heard."

Still, poll numbers found concern among voters that crime is rising because of the drug trade.

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