Denver resident Sean Azzariti hands his money to store owner Toni Fox as he makes the first purchase of recreational marijuana at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver on Jan. 1, 2014. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

Marijuana polls: Four surveys in nine months tell a compelling story (video)

How does America feel about the legalization of marijuana?

Everybody has an answer, and there are certainly maps that will tell you about various states’ laws. But in truly tackling that question — How does the U.S. feel about pot legalization? — it’s best to leave the answer to the experts who make a living out of professional polling.

At least four major marijuana-opinion polls have been released in the last nine months by polling pros (Gallup and Pew) and major media outlets (Washington Post, CNN and ABC). All four — including today’s ABC/Washington Post poll — show the majority of Americans on the side of the pro-legalization movement.

Here are all four of the majors, with links through to their original research. If you know of other recent, major, credible polls, let us know in the comments below.

Jan. 15, 2014: Today’s ABC/Washington Post poll found 49 percent of those polled said they support legalizing small amounts of pot for personal use. 48 percent opposed.

Jan. 6, 2014: A CNN/ORC International survey found that 55 percent of those questioned nationally said marijuana should be legal. About 44 percent disagreed.

Oct. 22, 2013: Gallup’s big poll had the strongest pro-pot numbers in this group; They found that 58 percent wanted marijuana legalization, while 39 percent were against it. “For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana,” they wrote. “And now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized. This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization.”

April 4, 2013: Pew’s polling found that 52 percent of its participants felt marijuana should be legal — while 45 percent said it should remain illegal. This was a big one, since Pew has such polling history on the matter: “For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana,” they wrote.