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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another Poll Shows Majority Support Legalizing Pot

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 3:45 PM

  • Yes

Ho-hum. Another day, another poll showing a majority of Americans are sick of the War on Drugs and favor marijuana legalization.

Of 1,003 Americans nationwide contacted by Canadian firm Angus Reid Public Opinion, 55 percent said they support the legalization of marijuana while 40 percent were opposed, according to a new poll released Tuesday. This is a 10 percent jump from last fall, when Gallup saw what was an "all-time high" with 46 percent of respondents believing cannabis should be legal in the United States.

Perhaps the biggest news out of this new poll, though, is that more and more Americans are tired of the War on Drugs.

This poll reached a healthy sample size of Republicans and Democrats of

all ages, locations and income levels, noted the poll's researchers, and

"confidence in the "War on Drugs" is decidedly low," notes Mario

Canseco, Angus Reid's vice president. To wit, 64 percent of respondents

think that the country has a serious drug abuse problem, yet only 9 percent favor continuing the War on Drugs, compared to 67 percent who say, despite Nancy Reagan and law enforcement's best efforts, the drug war is a bust.

"The overall indication is that most people - -Republicans included -- see it as a failure,"  Canseco said.

The poll also shows that residents of the North American continent are beginning to feel similar about marijuana. That'd be Americans and Canadians, pard. The purpose of the poll was to "find out whether Americans regard pot the same way most Canadians do -- as a substance that is akin to alcohol (legalize, tax, regulate) and less like the other "hard" drugs," Canseco wrote in an e-mail. "It turns out our views as a whole are very similar."

This means that very few Americans -- under 10 percent -- support legalizing or decriminalizing ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, or other "hard" drugs. Yet they favor legalizing pot. That so few Americans think pot and hard drugs are on the same level -- the Drug Enforcement Administration's stance notwithstanding -- is certainly part of a paradigm shift, in part generational.

"The survey shows a country that is concerned about the effects of drugs, and at the same time deeply disappointed with the efforts of the U.S. government to deal with the drug trade," the survey reports. "Cannabis is definitely not seen as a substance that is as harmful as other illegal drugs, as evidenced in the minuscule level of support for the legalization of cocaine or heroin."

But what will change? Who can say. The firm also reported a majority of Americans favoring marijuana legalization in 2009 and 2010, when marijuana semi-legalization initiative Proposition 19 failed at the ballot.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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