America has seen the future, and it is filled with legalized marijuana.
Fifty-eight percent of U.S. adults say recreational marijuana will be legal nationwide in the next 20 years, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll. That includes 13 percent who say it will take 20 years, 26 percent who say it will take 10 years, 17 percent who say it's just five years away, and 2 percent who say it will happen in the next year.
"Our civilization can't look away from the fact that marijuana is not bad and the only reason we don't have it is because of the archaic mentality," said Dakota Daniels, a 21-year-old waiter from Pueblo, Colo., who participated in the poll. He said he thinks people will embrace regulation — as opposed to bans — as Colorado did in 2012, because it allows states to set safety standards and reap tax revenue.
Not everyone is convinced that legal recreational weed is a foregone conclusion. Thirty-two percent said recreational marijuana will never be legal in all 50 states.
"There's so many people that have seen what drugs and alcohol have done to their families that I don't think it will ever ever ever be legalized in this country," said Chris Harmon, 42, a sales representative in New Philadelphia, Ohio.
"Once you let that in, there's a slippery slope to that next exit ramp," said Harmon, a Republican.
Four states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska — have legalized the recreational use of pot. Nevada voters will decide whether to legalize the drug in 2016, and voters in Maine, Massachusetts, Arizona, and California are poised to follow suit. California, the nation's most populous state, could prove a tipping point.
"A lot of eyes are on California," Gavin Newsom, the state's Democratic lieutenant governor and a supporter of legalization, recently told Bloomberg. "It's very different than almost any other state because of the scale and the magnitude of the change and what it will represent across the country."
Daniels said he thinks Americans no longer fear of the drug. "This whole 'reefer madness' mentality is being proven wrong," he said.
The poll was conducted April 6-8 by Selzer & Co. of West Des Moines, Iowa, among 1,008 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.