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A marijuana tax as the next new revenue stream?

Polls suggest increased support for decriminalizing and taxing the drug, but policy may not change soon.

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Are Americans really ready to consider legalizing marijuana? This week, California's governor said it was time to debate the issue, and a new nationwide poll suggests a majority of voters favor decriminalizing the drug.

While legalization advocates say they've never seen such widespread public support for reforming marijuana laws, they still don't expect drug policy to change overnight. But, they say, the country appears to be at tipping point in how it views recreational use of marijuana, which is now legal in 13 states for medically-approved use.

"We are actually talking about historic highs when it comes to public support of taxing and regulating marijuana for adult consumption," says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). But, he adds, "the most difficult task is how you convert public sentiment into public policy."

In Washington, Mr. Armentano says, politicians are still not ready to rethink US drug policy.

In a poll released Wednesday by Zogby International, 52 percent of voters said they would support legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana use.

The survey asked voters if they would "favor or oppose the government's effort to legalize marijuana?"

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