(Another) Poll Finds Increased Nationwide Support for Legalizing Marijuana

by Marijuana Policy Project

Majority of Americans think marijuana should be legal for adults and is less harmful than alcohol for the user and society; nationwide legalization seen as inevitable

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center showed that for the second year in a row a majority of Americans (54%) support making marijuana legal.  This represents a two percent increase in support from last year.

Only 42% support keeping marijuana illegal. Three-quarters of those polled think that the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide.

The poll also revealed that 69% of respondents see alcohol as more harmful to individual health than marijuana, and 63% think alcohol is more dangerous to society.

Pew’s nationwide survey of 1,821 adults was conducted February 14-23. Detailed survey results are available at here.

Voters in Alaska will decide on a ballot initiative in the August primary that would tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia are currently considering bills to do the same.

“It is good to know that despite the DEA’s best efforts, the American people are getting scientifically accurate information about marijuana, and the fact that it is objectively less harmful than alcohol to both individual health and society at large,” says Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, who is supporting the Alaska initiative.  ”The increase in support since last year’s poll shows that more and more Americans understand it’s simply bad public policy to steer adults toward alcohol by punishing those who prefer marijuana as a less harmful alternative.”

“Now that three-quarters of Americans understand taxing and regulating marijuana is inevitable, the writing is on the wall,” adds Riffle.  ”Congress needs to read it and move forward with legislation allowing states to choose more effective policies without federal interference.”

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http://www.thedailychronic.net/2014/30475/another-poll-finds-increased-nationwide-support-for-legalizing-marijuana/

More Details: 75% Of US Adults Foresee Marijuana Legalization

by Paul Armentano

WASHINGTON, DC — Seventy-five percent of Americans believe that the sale and use of cannabis will eventually be legal for adults, according to national polling data released this week by the Pew Research Center. Pew pollsters have been surveying public opinion on the marijuana legalization issue since 1973, when only 12 percent of Americans supported regulating the substance.

Fifty-four percent of respondents say that marijuana ought to be legal now, according to the poll. The total is the highest percentage of support ever reported by Pew and marks an increase of 2 percent since 2013. Forty-two percent of respondents said that they opposed legalizing marijuana for non-therapeutic purposes. Only 16 percent of Americans said that the plant should not be legalized for any reason.

Demographically, support for cannabis legalization was highest among those age 18 to 29 (70 percent), African Americans (60 percent), and Democrats (63 percent). Support was weakest among those age 65 and older (32 percent) and Republicans (39 percent).

Seventy-six percent of those surveyed oppose incarceration as a punishment for those found to have possessed personal use quantities of marijuana. Only 22 percent of respondents supported sentencing marijuana possession offenders to jail.

Fifty-four percent of those polled expressed concern that legalizing marijuana might lead to greater levels of underage pot use. (Forty-four percent said that it would not.) Overall, however, respondents did not appear to believe that such an outcome would pose the type of significant detrimental health risks presently associated with alcohol.

As in other recent polls, respondents overwhelmingly say that using cannabis is far less harmful to health than is drinking alcohol. Sixty-nine percent of those polled said that alcohol “is more harmful to a person’s health” than is marijuana. Only 15 percent said that cannabis posed greater health risks. Sixty-three percent of respondents separately said that alcohol is “more harmful to society” than cannabis. Only 23 percent said that marijuana was more harmful.

The Pew poll possesses a margin on error of +/- 2.6 percent.

Recent national polls by Gallup and CNN similarly report majority support among Americans for legalizing and regulating the adult use of the plant.

Commenting on the poll, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Advocating for the regulation of cannabis for adults is not a fringe political opinion. It is the majority opinion among the public. Elected officials who continue to push for the status quo — the notion that cannabis ought to be criminalized and that the consumers of cannabis ought to be stigmatized and punished — are holding on to a fringe position that is increasingly out-of-step with the their constituents’ beliefs.”

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http://www.thedailychronic.net/2014/30493/poll-75-of-us-adults-say-that-marijuana-legalization-is-inevitable/

WebMD Poll: Medical Community Backs Legalizing Marijuana

Pointing out why the police or the News-Gazette editorial board are not the best places to get advice on marijuana policy...

by Paul Armentano

WASHINGTON, DC — An estimated 70 percent of physicians acknowledge the therapeutic qualities of cannabis, and over half believe that the plant should also be legal for non-medical purposes, according to survey data released this week by WebMD/Medscape.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents say that cannabis can help in the treatment of specific diseases, and 67 percent say that the plant should be available as a legal therapeutic option for patients.

Oncologists and hematologists were most likely to express support for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, with 82 percent of those surveyed endorsing the plant’s therapeutic use.

Rheumatologists (54 percent) were least likely to say the cannabis provides therapeutic benefits.

Regarding the non-medical use of cannabis, 56 percent of physicians surveyed say that they support making the plant legal nationwide for adults.

Recent national polling data indicates similar levels of support for marijuana legalization among the general public.

Over 1,500 physicians representing more than 12 specialty areas participated in the survey which possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.

Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution/Noncommercial/Share-Alike License for non-profit organizations only.

http://www.thedailychronic.net/2014/30512/webmd-poll-medical-community-backs-legalizing-marijuana/

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