LA: Proponent Says Marijuana Legalization Imminent WDSU / 2,25,2012 Gallup Poll: 50% Of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana NEW ORLEANS -- Marijuana is one of America's most commonly used illegal drugs, and proponents in New Orleans said Tuesday the effort to decriminalize it is picking up steam. Proponents of legalizing marijuana from Louisiana to Washington State said the decades-long cultural battle over smoking pot is coming to an end. "The end of prohibition against cannabis will come just like it came with alcohol," Sunni Womack with Legalize Louisiana said. According to a recent Gallup poll, 50 percent of Americans -- up from 36 percent just five years ago -- support the legalization of marijuana. "We have 16 other states, including Washington, D.C., that already have models showing the tax dollars that (marijuana) revenue creates," Womack said. Besides the economic benefits of decriminalizing pot, proponents said that it also reduces the amount of tax dollars spent to jail marijuana smokers.Proponents also said they reject the argument that grass is a gateway to hardcore drugs. "Statistics don't change when it comes to marijuana as compared to cocaine and heroin. These other drugs prove to be very bad and hurt (and kill) people," Womack said. But FBI Special Agent David Welker said legalizing drugs, in general, would only lead to other problems. "Someone would have to regulate that aspect of (drugs), which is done with the alcohol industry. Someone would have to regulate it, and then, I believe it creates this black market for stronger and different drugs," Welker said. Officials said that some cities, including New Orleans, have now passed laws that require police to issue summons to those caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal use -- as opposed to taking them to jail. "I think laws are designed as a deterrent effect to have people stop doing something that they've created as illegal," Welker said. Both proponents and opponents said they will be watching the ballot in Washington State and Colorado as voters go to the polls this fall to weigh in on the initiative to legalize pot in those two states. Someone needs to clue FBI agent Welker that the black market exists because of prohibition and ends shortly after prohibition ends,,as far as drugs go.