WASHINGTON — Early signs indicate that marijuana entrepreneurs may have little to worry about as the 2016 presidential campaign takes shape, with some top-rung hopefuls warming to the idea of letting states decide whether to legalize recreational pot.

On the Republican side, those potential candidates include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, both of whom have admitted to using the drug during their younger years, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has said he was no “choir boy” in college.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she never experimented with marijuana but appears open to the idea of allowing states to legalize it.

While the push for legalization has gained great momentum in the past two years, the next president will have to decide whether to enforce the federal law that bans marijuana or follow the Obama administration’s lead in allowing states to tax and regulate it, as long as they do a good job policing themselves.

Legalization emerged as a big winner at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, where nearly two-thirds of the 3,000 activists who voted in a straw poll said it should be legal for either recreational or medical purposes.

Nationally, the most recent Gallup poll, conducted in October, found 51 percent of Americans backing legalization.

However, less than a third of conservatives said it should be legal.

The growing popularity of legalization was not lost on the parade of politicians at CPAC.

“Well, I was told Colorado provided the brownies here today,” Cruz told his audience, a reference to the first state that allowed recreational pot sales in January of last year.

At the gathering, Paul, Bush and Cruz all said that legalization should be left up to the states, responding to questions from talk-show host Sean Hannity of the Fox News Channel. Clinton disclosed her views in June on CNN.

Tom Angell, chairman of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority, based in Washington, D.C., said it’s obvious that presidential candidates are paying attention to polls.

“Letting states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference is quickly becoming the default position among ambitious politicians in both parties. … When voters lead, politicians have to follow or get left behind,” he said.

To be sure, not all of the likely contenders in the top tier are jumping on the bandwagon.

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a crowd-pleaser at CPAC who’s scoring high in early polls, is among those who have consistently opposed legalization.

And others say it’s far too early to draw any conclusions on how the issue would fare in 2016.