Tag Archives: Legality of cannabis

Angus Reid Poll: 55 Percent Of Adults Support Legalizing Marijuana

August 11, 2011 – New York, NY, USA

New York, NY: Fifty-five percent of American adults support legalizing marijuana, up from 52 percent in 2010, according to the results of a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll.

Pollsters conducted an online survey of a representative national sample of 1,003 American adults. A solid majority, including 63 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Independents, said that they endorsed the legalization of marijuana.

Forty percent of those polled said that they opposed the idea and five percent were undecided. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

The Angus Reid results are slightly higher than those published by other polling firms, such as Gallup, which use random digital dial sampling.

More men (57 percent) than women (53 percent) voiced support for legalizing cannabis. Respondents between the ages of 35 to 54 were most likely to support legalization (57 percent); however, a majority of respondents from every age group polled — including those age 55 and over — said that they backed making marijuana legal.

No more than ten percent of respondents said that they favored making any other illicit substance legal.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.

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Gallup: Record Number Of Americans Now Say They Support Marijuana Legalization

This study is part of what encouraged me to support Prop 19 in the fall. Things are changing as more people become educated about the truth of Canabis (E)

October 29th, 2010 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

The latest national poll numbers from Gallup, which has been tracking public opinion on cannabis legalization since the late 1960s, shows that Americans’ support for ‘making marijuana legal’ is now at its highest reported level of support ever.

New High of 46% of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana
Liberals, 18- to 29-year-olds express the highest levels of support
via Gallup.com

While California’s marijuana ballot initiative is garnering a lot of attention this election cycle, Gallup finds that nationally, a new high of 46% of Americans are in favor of legalizing use of the drug, and a new low of 50% are opposed. The increase in support this year from 44% in 2009 is … a continuation of the upward trend seen since 2000.

These results are from Gallup’s annual Crime poll, conducted Oct. 7-10. Approximately 8 in 10 Americans were opposed to legalizing marijuana when Gallup began asking about it in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Support for legalizing the drug jumped to 31% in 2000 after holding in the 25% range from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.

Political Leanings, Age Divide Americans’ Support for Legalizing Marijuana

Across numerous subgroups, liberals’ support, at 72%, is by far the highest. There is widespread support for legalization among 18- to 29-year-olds (61%) as well.
Majority support is also found among Democrats, independents, men, and political moderates.

A large majority of those living in the West, which encompasses California, are in favor of making the drug legal. Support is significantly lower in the South and Midwest.

Political conservatives and Republicans are the least supportive of legalizing marijuana. Seniors express a similarly low level of support.

Women are 10 percentage points less likely than men to favor legalizing the drug.

These demographic, political, and ideological differences in support are much the same as they were in 2009.

Bottom Line

Support for making the drug legal in general, however, is growing among Americans. The public is almost evenly split this year, with 46% in favor and 50% opposed. If the trend of the past decade continues at a similar pace, majority support could be a reality within the next few years.

The latest Gallup numbers reinforce the question: ‘If a government’s legitimate use of state power is based on the consent of the governed, then at what point does marijuana prohibition — in particular the federal enforcement of prohibition — become illegitimate public policy?’ It’s time for our elected officials to answer.

 


NORML: Give Thanks And Praises!

We do not celebrate Dec. 25th as any kind of special day for reasons I would be glad to elaborate upon for anyone who cares to ask. That said I wanted to include this letter since Allen St. Pierre speaks to a number of things that will offer hope and encouragement to those who were disappointed by the loss of Prop 19 in California in the November elections. (Ed)

December 24, 2010

Dear NORML Members and Supporters,

Social change doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen. This is the message we took away from the November 2010 election, an election that will influence NORML’s work in 2011 and beyond.

California Legalization Initiative: Prop. 19
I’m sure that by now you know the news. Forty-seven percent of Californians voted in favor of Proposition 19, which made the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis lawful for adults. No legalization initiative in any state has ever received so much voter support, nor has any effort generated such positive national discourse. In fact, by the end of the campaign even our staunchest opponents had to concede that America’s present criminal prohibition is an unequivocal failure. They recognize that the question is no longer, ‘Should we legalize and regulate marijuana?’ but, ‘How should we legalize and regulate marijuana?’ This marks a monumental shift in the public and political debate over marijuana policy.

But that’s not all. Let us remember one of the tangible and significant victories of the campaign: The signing into law of Senate Bill 1449 reducing the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a noncriminal infraction, punishable by a $100 fine—no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record. Passage of this law, which arguably would not have happened if it were not for advocates’ stepped up lobbying efforts regarding Prop. 19, will spare tens of thousands of Californians from criminal prosecution in 2011 and beyond.

Am I disappointed we failed to gain the support of 50 percent of California’s electorate?

Of course.

But I am proud of the progress we made, and of the broad coalition of political and civil rights organizations who endorsed our efforts, including the California NAACP, The Latino Voters League, the SEIU (one of America’s largest unions), and the Black Police Officers Association. That is why I remain confident that we can – and will – bring about the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults in California in 2012, and that is why I believe that we can extend these same freedoms to the citizens of other states in the years to follow.

Elections Matter; Threats Ahead
Yet when I view the ever-changing political landscape nationwide, I recognize there are many significant hurdles before us. This fall’s resurgence of Republican-elected officials in both Washington, DC, and throughout the nation threatens to undermine many of our recent gains. As I write to you today, U.S. Senators are in the process of confirming Michele Leonhart – who has ordered more than thirty raids of state-sanctioned medical marijuana providers – to head the Drug Enforcement Administration, and House members are likely to promote Texas Republican Lamar Smith – arguably the most reefer-mad member of the U.S. Congress – to head the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives.

At the statewide level, New Mexico’s newly elected Gov. Susan Martinez has threatened to repeal the state’s three-year-old medical cannabis law, which so far has licensed 17 dispensaries to produce and provide marijuana to nearly 3,000 authorized patients. In Michigan, incoming Attorney General Bill Schuette has also pledged to roll back the state’s popular medical cannabis law, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2008. And in Montana, lawmakers are planning an all assault upon the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law, despite its passage with over 60 percent of the vote.

Drug warriors are emboldened by the statewide initiative defeats of medical cannabis proposals in Oregon (regarding the regulation of state-licensed dispensaries) and South Dakota (regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes), and advocates’ razor thin margin of victory in Arizona (which became the fifteenth state to authorize the medical use of marijuana since 1996), but NORML remains unbowed. We will continue to forge ahead with our push for full legalization in states like Colorado, Washington, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Rhode Island. Rest assured, we have not lost our momentum, and we do not intend to let our opponents roll back even one of the many statewide victories that we – and all of you – have worked so hard to achieve.

“What Does Not Kill You Makes You Stronger”
In fact, according to the most recent Gallup national public opinion poll, momentum in favor of adult legalization and regulation has never been stronger. According to the October survey, a record 46 percent of voters nationwide now support making marijuana legal, and only 50 percent support prohibition (an all-time low.) To put these percentages in proper perspective, consider this. A decade ago, fewer than 30 percent of Americans said that they backed ending cannabis prohibition and a whopping 70 percent supported it.

This is why our opponents are running scared, and it is why they have targeted 2011 as the year they strike back. They have no other choice. They are aware, just as we are, that public opinion is moving exponentially in favor of marijuana law reform, and that this trend shows no signs of abating. We may have lost a battle in November, but we are clearly winning the war – and the drug warriors know it.

NORML: Putting The ‘Grass’ Into Grassroots Since 1970
As we approach 2011, our prohibitionist opponents are keenly aware that they have lost the hearts and minds of the electorate, and they are preparing to wage one final stand. We plan to meet them head on – and defeat them. Will you support our efforts? Your continued financial support will assure that we hold the line in 2011, and it will allow us to continue the national dialogue that is turning a record number of Americans toward cannabis liberation. Victory is at a hand, but only if we keep the pressure on – and only if we have the resources to fight back when necessary.

Supporting NORML and NORML Foundation is both simple and rewarding. If you want your donation to be employed for political purposes, such as for lobbying state and federal policy makers, please direct your donation to NORML. If you’d prefer a tax-deductible donation, which will be used for education, litigation, advertising and social organizing, please direct any cash or stock donations to the NORML Foundation.

Many of NORML’s members and supporters generously donate to both!

Social change doesn’t happen overnight – but it does happen, and it is happening. That is why NORML needs your support now more than ever. 2011 promises to be a battle, but with your continued financial contributions I know that we will emerge victorious.

NORML @ 40-Years-Young
Lastly, as the collective calendar is turned, NORML—a remarkably enduring and resilient hub for a now sprawling social justice movement and medical cannabis industry—embarks upon it’s 40th year of representing the interests of cannabis consumers by, among other services, providing legal assistance and moral support to the many tens of thousands of consumers, growers and sellers (our brothers and sisters) arrested and incarcerated annually because of our nation’s antiquated Cannabis Prohibition laws.

NORML provides both in-office and 24/7 online support services formedical cannabis patients; citizens facing drug testing concerns; the victims of civil forfeiture; studentsresearching papers; also, NORML’s staff provides over 3,000 local, State, national and internationalmedia interviews annually. On thetightest budget in the drug policy reform movement, NORML produces the most popular cannabis-centric conferences, as well as the most popular cannabis-related webpageand daily podcast on the Internet.

None of this is possible without thesupport of thoughtful and engaged citizens like you!

Again, your end-of-the-year donations to either NORML or NORML Foundation is proof positive of your stakeholdership in a really important 40-year-old Washington, D.C. institution among public interest organizations.

Here’s to a safe and hemp-filled holiday and New Year to all! Thanks, as always, for caring and sharing!

Cannabem liberemus,

Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
NORMLNORML Foundation

*Have you seen some of the unique ‘thank you’ gifts for members and donors?

 

 


Prop. 19 Goes up in Smoke

 

Mises Daily: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 by

[Watch the interview with Mark Thornton on Prop. 19.]

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Proposition 19 in California would have legalized marijuana, but it fell short. Victory seemed almost a foregone conclusion for many; after all, it is California. For millions, both in California and across the country, news of Prop. 19’s failure came as a major disappointment. However, it should be considered a great victory for such a radical measure to get 46 percent of the vote in open defiance of federal law, especially considering the intense opposition. Plans are already in the works to put the initiative back on the ballot for the 2012 election, which is expected to have higher turnout from young people. But in order for the ballot initiative to succeed, we must first understand why it failed.

The Opposition

In order to understand the depth and strength of the opposition, it is necessary to understand what Prop. 19 is really about. This legislation would be in open opposition to federal law as well as to a United Nations treaty that supports the drug war. It would be a law passed by the people, not the legislature. Most importantly, it would demonstrate that in the absence of marijuana prohibition, society can survive and thrive.

This example would give other states the idea that they could also effectively repeal marijuana prohibition. It might even create a national effort to repeal marijuana prohibition. It might even give people the idea to repeal other silly and harmful federal laws. This would open a can of worms for federal authority and bring back the idea of a people’s nullification.

So as you can see this was a critical victory for federal authority. It is not just that some potheads forgot to register to vote. Lots of money was spent, lots of lies were told. This was the equivalent of a goal-line stand for federal authority.

Bruce Yandle created the “bootleggers and Baptists” model of politics to describe how special-interest groups who normally oppose each other work for a common goal. With alcohol prohibition, Baptist preachers teamed up with bootleggers and moonshiners to make and keep alcohol illegal. Today we see the shared interests of environmental groups and established oil companies, who both want drilling restricted.

Those opposing Prop. 19 included everyone from marijuana dealers to megachurch preachers. All the powerful politicians, candidates, pot smokers, and even the California Beer and Beverage Distributors Association joined the team. The ancient proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” perfectly describes the relationship of these seemingly unlikely bedfellows.

Politicians

Politicians lined up solidly against Prop. 19, as you would expect. Gubernatorial candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman opposed it. US Senate candidates Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina opposed it. California senator Dianne Feinstein opposed it. California representative and speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi opposed it. Both candidates for attorney general opposed it.

In an attempt to dishearten supporters of Prop. 19, US attorney general Eric Holder issued a statement that he would vigorously enforce federal law in California even if Prop. 19 passed. In a similar vein, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill making possession of small amounts of marijuana a minor violation punishable by a maximum fine of $100. This was a last-ditch effort to undermine support for Prop. 19 by giving the impression that marijuana was de facto a legal drug.

Even Mexican president Felipe Calderon and Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos vocally opposed Prop. 19 — not surprisingly, given that Mexico and Columbia receive a great deal of money from the United States to fight the War on Drugs, and both countries generate substantial incomes from the sale of illegal drugs. Legal pot in California would have been a big blow to both marijuana and cocaine sales from south of the border.

Bootleggers

There is good evidence that those who currently grow and sell illegal marijuana opposed Prop. 19. The “Emerald Triangle,” consisting of Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties, is the major marijuana-growing region in Northern California. According to Mother Jones, those three counties voted to defeat Prop. 19:

“There’s a large movement up here of people who realize that their self interest lies in keeping marijuana illegal,” says Hank Sims, the editor of the North Coast Journal, based in the Humboldt town of Eureka. Growers in the Emerald Triangle’s rugged hills and foggy redwood groves are shielded from the snooping eyes of the DEA, but that advantage would become a handicap if pot could be openly cultivated in California’s warm, flat, agribusiness-dominated Central Valley. North Coast ganja growers “have got government-sponsored price control in the form of busts,” Sims explains. “So I think a lot of people kind of cynically voted their pocketbook and voted to keep it illegal.”

There was even a group called “Stoners against Legalization,” but it turns out that it was headed up by a drug-law attorney who would have lost a great deal of her business had Prop. 19 passed. Likewise, medical marijuana shops have come out against Prop. 19 on the ludicrous notion that legalization would reduce patient access to marijuana.

Baptists

Segueing from bootleggers to Baptists, we find this headline from the East Bay Express: Stoners against Legalization Team Up with Ex-Crackhead Priest. Of course, the priest was joined by fundamentalist Christians as well. The East Bay Express reports,

Backed by the California Beer and Beverage Distributors, no on 19 group “Public Safety First” employed the powerful Christian fundamentalist organization Vision to America. [T]he anti-gay rights group asked its hundreds of thousands of believers nationwide to “help us get the word out about our campaign to defeat legalized recreational marijuana in schools.”

The California Beer and Beverage Distributors, who would be hurt by lowe r marijuana prices, teamed up with church-based Vision to America — talk about bootleggers and Baptists in action — to raise money, run advertisements, and mislead the public debate. They claimed that Prop. 19 would lead to allowing truck drivers, nurses, and students to get high before driving, nursing, and going to school. The Chamber of Commerce also aired some blatantly misleading advertisements.

The truth, of course, is that students, nurses, and truck drivers can be prevented from getting high before showing up, just as they are prevented from getting drunk. The truth is that businesses can prevent customers and employees from smoking pot on their property, and insurance companies would not go along with businesses that let their employees get high and operate heavy machinery or fly planes. In fact, marijuana is saferthan alcohol and is probably only the 10th-most-problematic recreational drug.

Given the powerful forces opposing Prop. 19 — along with their lies and trickery — the forces of liberty and prosperity should not be disheartened by this initial defeat. We now have a copy of their playbook — politicians, pot growers, and medical-marijuana dealers oppose legalization, while Christian organizations, beer distributors, and drug lawyers spread lies to protect their self-interests.


Mark Thornton is a senior resident fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and is the book review editor for the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He is the author of The Economics of Prohibition, coauthor of Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War, and the editor of The Quotable Mises, The Bastiat Collection, and An Essay on Economic Theory. Send him mail. See Mark Thornton’s article archives.

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Dedicated Pot Crusaders Already Licking Their Chops for the Next Opportunity to Legalize

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AlterNet / By Steven Wishnia

California’s pot-legalization initiative went down to defeat last night, but 46 percent of the vote tells advocates like Richard Lee that the future is bright.
November 3, 2010 |

OAKLAND—California’s pot-legalization initiative went down to defeat last night, but supporters say it came close enough to try again.

The Proposition 19 ballot initiative won 46 percent of the vote. It would have regulated and taxed marijuana under rules similar to those for alcohol, albeit with a lot more dry counties and odd blue laws.

Ironically, the proposal failed to carry the “Emerald Triangle” of Humboldt and Mendocino counties, the state’s most fabled ganja-growing region. Prop 19 got only 47 percent there, according to “semi-official” returns posted on-line by California’s Secretary of State.

Supporters claimed a moral victory and a tactical advance. The vote, they said, was close enough to put marijuana legalization on the national map as an issue to be taken seriously.

“It’s not a debate about if or when. It’s a debate about how,” said Prop 19 “coproponent” Jeff Jones, a longtime medical-marijuana activist. Jones’ Oakland cannabis dispensary was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s first medical-marijuana case.

“It hurts, but no matter what, it’s a victory,” said Danielle Schumacher, 28, a volunteer from Berkeley. “”We got a big percentage of the vote, and that’s something to build on.”

“The more we talk about it, we win,” said Aaron Houston of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, which organized scores of volunteers for the initiative. “We’ve had 40 years of Reefer Madness propaganda that’s said it’s not OK to talk about it. That’s what changed this fall.”

The proposal won almost two-thirds of the vote in San Francisco, and also carried Oakland and most of the Bay Area. It lost badly in the Central Valley, getting only 37 percent in Fresno, and it did only a few points better in the “Inland Empire” east of Los Angeles.

“It was an uphill battle in an off-year election; with an older, smaller, and more conservative electorate, it’s a hostile environment for marijuana-law reform,” said Stephen Gutwillig of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Los Angeles office.

If the initiative had passed, cannabis users, growers, and dealers would still have been vulnerable under federal law. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced in late October that the federal government would continue to enforce laws against sale, cultivation, and possession. The measure began to slip in the polls after that, and some activists call Holder’s announcement a turning point.

The Leaders

Seeded by a $1.4 million contribution from Oakland medical-marijuana magnate Richard Lee, the initiative was opposed by most of the state’s political establishment, but it drew a dedicated volunteer force and a coalition that activists called “unprecedented.” On Election Day, volunteers at Yes on 19’s Oakland office made more than 50,000 get-out-the-vote calls.

Prohibition endorsers included governor-elect Jerry Brown and his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman; the state Chamber of Commerce; the state associations of prosecutors, police chiefs, sheriffs, and narcotics officers; and both candidates for California attorney general.

People in the cannabis world say a victory for the Republican attorney-general candidate, Los Angeles prosecutor Steve Cooley, would do more damage than Prop 19’s loss. Cooley has argued that the state’s medical-marijuana law does not permit sale, and threatened to close every medical-pot dispensary in the state. He narrowly trailed Democrat Kamala Harris as of noon Wednesday.

Prop 19 also “forged an unprecedented coalition for marijuana-law reform,” says Stephen Gutwilliger. It won endorsements from groups outside the cannabis-culture and drug-policy worlds. It was backed by the state branches of the NAACP, the Latino Voters League, the Service Employees International Union, the Northern California district of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

“We’ve never been in rooms with union leaders, with minorities, with Democrats,” said Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “In 1996, we were trying to convince the country that medical marijuana wasn’t a farce.”

The UFCW began backing the initiative in earnest after workers at Oakland’s medical-marijuana dispensaries joined the union earlier this year. Legal marijuana might bring “60,000, 70,000, 80,000 sustainable, single-earner jobs to California,” says Dan Rush, Local 5’s special-operations director. “It’s a growth industry for my union for the next ten years.”

The jobs pay well, he says—up to $35 an hour with benefits—-so legalization is also about “bringing dignity to the industry,” he adds, treating cannabis retail or agricultural workers like they’re meatcutters or grocery-store workers instead of like drug dealers.


Opposition Within the Ranks

A surprising amount of opposition came from pot-smokers themselves—-its significance conceivably shown by the results in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, where cannabis farming is a mainstay of the economy. Many growers fear that legalization would make prices drop so low that it would slash their income, or that big corporations would squeeze them out.

“It’ll exclude us little guys,” said an East Bay grower. He said the semi-legal status of medical marijuana has stabilized the market, and he doesn’t want to mess things up.

“There are mixed feelings within the industry,” said one of his companions, another grower. Indoor growers might be able to find a market for high-quality herb similar to that for microbrewery beer, but he also feared a “green rush” of new growers who would flood the market with mediocre herb and bring prices down too low for farmers to make a living.

Other stoner opponents said that anyone who really needs cannabis can get a medical-use certificate.

Still, voting against legalizing marijuana because you yourself are relatively safe might seem to be an extraordinarily hypocritical act for a pot-smoker—-or conceivably racist, as recently released studies by the Drug Policy Alliance have found dramatically higher arrest rates for pot possession among black and Latino people in California, especially young men.

“The growers (mostly all white) never talk about the War on Drugs and all the youth of color rotting behind bars in California and everywhere for small amounts of marijuana!” said a disgruntled hippie-era Mendocino County grower before the election.

Others objected to the age restrictions in the proposal. It would have set a smoking age of 21, and increased penalties for a person over 21 providing non-medical pot to someone under 18.

There were also plenty of conspiracy theories floating around California’s cannabis world. Philip Morris and/or R.J. Reynolds had bought 200,000 acres of foreclosed property up north, waiting for the day they could bulldoze into the marijuana market. Monsanto was waiting in the wings with ganja genetically engineered to be ultra-potent. Billionaire George Soros, who contributed $1 million to the initiative, was using Richard Lee to corner the market.

“If you can have it, why are you fighting so hard for other people to have it?” shouted Bill Benjamin, 28, of Oakland, one of a knot of men loudly picketing Oaksterdam University, Lee’s “cultivation college,” on Election Day. Most wore crudely printed “No on 19” T-shirts and claimed to be irate medical users.

“I have nephews in high school, and they don’t need to be smoking that shit,” said another protester.

Benjamin, who said he uses marijuana medically for insomnia, said he opposes changing the law because “recreational users already go to jail” and risking that is their choice. He also argued that if pot were legal, billionaires would buy out everyone else in the business.

“Marlboro’s not going to grow medical marijuana or marijuana, because it’s still federally illegal,” responded Jeff Jones when they confronted him. He dismissed the protesters as “ignorant, like Tea Partiers.”

Others see a more sinister hand at work. Enraged monologues about impractically omnipotent corporate conspiracies aren’t rare in the weed world, a persecuted subculture that can be somewhere between isolated and secretive and has plenty of urban legends. But belligerent rants in the phraseology of prohibitionist talking points, instant-scruff two-week beards, and crudely trying to pick fights with activists by calling them “faggots” remarkably resemble the tactics used by Vietnam-era agent provocateurs.

The Future

“We’re gonna be back in 2012,” Jeff Jones said at Yes on 19’s closing-night gathering in Oakland, speaking on video to the press and lower-level volunteers out in the parking lot.

Was the off-year campaign premature? Maybe, said Dale Gieringer of California NORML two days before the vote, but “we’re finally looking at the only thing that solves the problem of marijuana prohibition.”

The odds are good for a 2012 campaign that has more resources and has learned from this year’s mistakes. Some groups may try California again. Others are looking at Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, and Alaska, which have all voted for initiatives to legalize medical marijuana. Revised versions might try to mollify intra-movement critics by including protections for small farmers and establishing a clear statewide regulatory system instead of a patchwork of local options.

It was “absolutely” better to have the vote now rather than wait, Aaron Houston said after the returns came in. “We have to have this conversation. Thirty thousand people have died south of the border.”

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US Nearing 50% Supporting Marijuana Legalization, Poll Finds

*

by Phillip Smith, October 28, 2010, 05:58pm, (Issue #656)

Though the fate of California’s Prop 19 remains unknown for a few more days, majority support in the US for marijuana legalization appears to be just a few days away. An all-time high of 46% of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. The number opposed to legalization dropped to an all-time low of 50%. Support increased from 44% last year, continuing an upward trend in the past decade.

time is on our sideSupport for legalization was at 12% in a Gallup poll in 1969 and climbed to 28% in 1978, then stayed flat at about 25% throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s. By 2001, support had climbed to 31%, by 2004 it was at 34%, by 2006 it was at 36%. Since then, support has grown by 10 points to 46%.

“If the trend of the past decade continues at a similar pace, majority support could be a reality within the next few years,” Gallup noted in its discussion of the poll results.

Pot legalization scored majority support among liberals (79%), 18-to-29-year-olds (61%), Westerners (58%), Democrats (55%), independents (54%), men (51%) and moderates (51%). It did least well among Republicans (29%), conservatives (30%), and people over 65 (32%)

Support varied among regions, from the West’s high of 58% to 47% in the East, 42% in the Midwest, and 41% in the South.

The poll also asked about support for medical marijuana and found that 70% of Americans supported it. But that figure is down from 75% in 2003 and 78% in 2005.

The poll was based on live cell phone and land line interviews conducted October 7-10 with a random sample of 1,025 adults. Each question was asked of a half-sample of approximately 500 respondents. The margin of sampling error was +/-5 percentage points.


From NORML

This Week’s News from NORML

Voters Nationwide To Decide On Marijuana Legalization Measures Tuesday
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In California, voters will decide Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, which legalizes the adult possession of limited quantities of marijuana for adults in private, and allows local governments to regulate its commercial production and retail distribution. If passed, the measure would be the most expansive modern law ever enacted regarding the adult use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

Learn more about Prop. 19 here: http://yeson19.com.

In Arizona, voters will decide Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which permits state-registered patients to obtain cannabis legally from licensed facilities. Authorized patients who do not have a state-licensed dispensary in their local area (defined as within 25 miles of their residence) would be permitted under the law to cultivate their own cannabis for medicinal purposes. Other patients would not be allowed to grow their own marijuana.

Learn more about Proposition 203 here: http://stoparrestingpatients.org/home/.

In South Dakota, voters will decide Measure 13, the South Dakota Safe Access Act, which exempts state criminal penalties for state-authorized patients who possess up to one ounce of marijuana or six cannabis plants. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana laws since 1996; ten have done so by voter initiative.

Learn more about Measure 13 here: http://sdcompassion.org/.

In Oregon, voters will decide Measure 74, The Oregon Regulate Medical Marijuana Supply System Act of 2010, which creates state-licensed not-for-profit facilities to assist in the production and distribution of marijuana to qualified patients. Oregon voters initially authorized the physician-authorized use of marijuana in 1998. Several states, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Maine, have enacted statewide regulations licensing the production and dispensing of medical cannabis.

Learn more about Measure 74 here: http://coalitionforpatientsrights2010.com/.

In Massachusetts, voters in 73 cities and towns will decide November 2 on non-binding public policy questions regarding the taxation of the adult use of marijuana and the legalization of the physician-supervised use of medical cannabis. Approximately 13 percent of the state’s registered voters will be weighing in on the questions. The results will likely influence the language of a proposed statewide, binding ballot measure in 2012.

Learn more about this campaign here: http://www.masscann.org/.  

NORML and the NORML Foundation: 1600 K Street NW, Suite 501, Washington DC, 20006-2832
Tel: (202) 483-5500 • Fax: (202) 483-0057 • Email: norml@norml.org

Up in smoke – prohibition of cannabis proves counter-productive

 

A Cannabis sativa leaf.

Image via Wikipedia

 

The Melbourne Newsroom

7 Oct 2010
Prohibition of cannabis in the United States may be counter-productive, with a new study showing that a period of increased law enforcement against the drug coincided with an increase in the number of young adult cannabis users smoking cheaper and more potent produce.

The report, Tools for Debate: US Federal Government Data on Cannabis Prohibition, conducted by researchers from the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy in Vancouver, focused on the effects of national drug prohibition in recent decades, and in an editorial published online this week for the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Professor Robin Room from the University of Melbourne and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, outlined why this new evidence should be used to reassess approaches to America’s management of cannabis use.

“The evidence from the Tools for Debate report is not only that the prohibition system is not achieving its aims, but that more efforts in the same direction only worsen results,” he said.

According to the report, the US federal antidrug budget increased from about $1.5bn in 1981 to more than $18bn in 2002. Between 1990 and 2006, cannabis related arrests increased from fewer than 350,000 to more than 800,000 annually and seizures of cannabis from less than 500,000 lb to more than 2.5 million lb. In the same period, the retail price of cannabis decreased by more than half, the potency increased, and the proportion of users who were young adults went up from about 25% to more than 30%. Intensified enforcement of cannabis prohibition thus did not have the intended effects.

Professor Room said the challenge for researchers and policy analysts in light of these findings was to flesh out the details of an effective regulatory system. He suggested that countries who chose to adopt a new approach to cannabis control could allow a regulated legal domestic market while keeping in place international market controls.

“State control instruments – such as licensing regimens, inspectors, and sales outlets run by the government – which are still in place for alcohol in some areas could be extended to cover cannabis and would provide workable and well-controlled retail outlets for cannabis,” he said.

More information:

Professor Robin Room,
School of Population Health,
University of Melbourne;
and AER Centre for Alcohol Policy Research,Turning Point Alcohol & Drug Centre.
phone: +61 3 8413 8430, +61 8413 8413, robinr@turningpoint.org.au

or Emma O’Neill, Media Unit, University of Melbourne on 03 83447220 or 0432758734.


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