By: James Nye
Magazine claims it could be his 'secret weapon' in 2012 presidential election
While it is up for debate whether that issue helped President George W. Bush win re-election nationwide as turnout was high, it was proven to drive more conservatives to the polls in the key state of Ohio and helped Mr Bush win by two percentage points there, or about 118,000 votes.
It is that kind of electrified partisan support that the Democrats would like to harness for the tough campaign that is expected in 2012.
A Gallup poll from 2011 found that 57 percent of Democrats think marijuana should be legal and 62 percent of adults under 30 supported an overhaul of legislation.
In fact, the same poll found that 50 percent of the entire nation was supportive of changing federal law.
In an October 2009 Gallup poll, 54 percent of American's believed that cannabis should remain illegal and a year later in 2010 that gap had shrunk to 50 percent who wanted to preserve the status-quo.
In the last poll of 2011 those against had fallen to 46 percent which is an eight point national swing away from opposition and which seems to support the Rasmussen Reports findings from this year.
Speaking at the time of the failed Proposition 19 vote, philanthropist Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance Cos saw a wind change.
'(Maraijuana law is) emerging as one of the leading national issues in the coming years,' said Lewis.
'Change is inevitable and my priority is to make that change positive.'
Surveys during 2010 in California by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling saw figures that pointed to voters under 30 being driven to the ballot solely by support for pot legalisation.
They showed strong evidence that Proposition 19 and not the candidate who personally supported it as the main motivation to vote.
While no state in the U.S. currently allows recreational marijuana use, public opinion has become divided over the continued crack down on medical cannabis dispensaries and 'stop and frisk' searches that lead to the arrest of 850,000 American citizens each year.
In fact, a study released on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control found that in 2011, for the first time ever, more American teens smoked pot than cigarettes.
The Annual Youth Risk Behviour Survey from the CDC took 15,000 surveys in 43 states and found that 23 percent of students said they had used marijuana in the last month, whereas only 18 percent said they had smoked cigarettes.
While any move to legalising cannabis would be incredibly risky for professed former drug user President Obama, a political argument to change the law would offer clear traction for the pro-marijuana lobby.
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