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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another Poll Shows Marijuana Legalization Has Overwhelming Support

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 12:47 AM

click to enlarge Can't hear, won't hear. Nuh-uh, uh-uh. - THEWEEDBLOG.ORG
  • Can't hear, won't hear. Nuh-uh, uh-uh.

If only President Barack Obama was marijuana, then he'd win reelection by a landslide.

Marijuana legalization enjoys a 20-point advantage in the polls among American adults, according to a recent survey Rasmussen Reports. Fifty-six percent of Americans polled support the notion of marijuana being taxed and regulated like alcohol or tobacco, with 36 percent in opposition (8 percent of respondents are unsure, somehow. We envy their unspoiled opinions.).

Those keeping score will note that this is yet another poll indicating strong support for doing away with, or at least reforming drastically, current American marijuana policy. The question remains: If so many citizens want to legalize pot, when -- if ever -- will it finally happen?

The poll queried 1,000 likely voters via telephone on May 12. Respondents were asked 18 yes-or-no questions, such as:

The United States is the leading consumer of illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine. Some foreign policy experts argue that the U.S. consumer demand for illegal drugs is a primary cause of the drug violence and gang warfare in Mexico and Central America. Is the U.S. consumption of illegal drugs a major factor in the drug violence in Mexico and Central America?
Turns out, cocaine legalization is still the fringiest of causes, with only 11 percent of respondents favoring the idea of a businss model for an actually-profitable Instagram (not our joke, but we'll happily steal it). Still, 47 percent said they'd support legalization of pot and cocaine if it meant reducing border violece and cartel killings.

Fifty-eight percent support the selling of pot in pharmacies only, with a margin of error of three points. It's interesting to note people's interest in a tightly controlled market model, even if they're reluctant to accept a taxed and regulated cannabis product.

The news here is perhaps that there is no news. A Gallup poll last fall already revealed that a record number of Americans favored legalization of marijuana. And the backers of failed marijuana legalization ballot measure Regulate Marijuana Like Wine insisted that they were very close to polling at 60 percent in favor -- the threshold necessary for big-time donors to start throwing money at a ballot initiative campaign.

Time and again Americans weary of the Drug War have been told that it's only a matter of time before civic leaders heed citizens' desires and change American marijuana policy.

But there's reason to worry: Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), both longtime marijuana banner-wavers in Congress, are both retiring. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney isn't open to even considering the question, and if he's truly representative of the right, then we can only assume the rest of the country won't even approach the idea. And Obama's trip to South America made non-lurid headlines, too: He said drug legalization is a straight-up no-no.

Then again, politicians unwilling to take risky stands might be swayed by Washington and Colorado, both of which will consider legalization on their state ballots this fall. If either one wins -- or if either one fares better than California's Prop. 19 did in 2010 -- political will might just begin to appear.

"I think we'll start to see a lot more politicians who have agreed with us only behind closed doors feeling more comfortable in pushing these sensible reforms in public" if those efforts win, said Tom Angell, spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of current and ex-cops seeking an end to the drug war. "In order for us to translate polling support into policy change, the movement needs help politicians understand in very tangible terms that supporting reform is good politics."

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly.

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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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