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#307705 - 10/23/09 11:12 AM Support for Legalizing Marijuana Reaches New High
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States

Majority in the West favors taxing marijuana sales to boost state revenues

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's October Crime poll finds 44% of Americans in favor of making marijuana legal and 54% opposed. U.S. public support for legalizing marijuana was fixed in the 25% range from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but acceptance jumped to 31% in 2000 and has continued to grow throughout this decade.

Public opinion is virtually the same on a question that relates to a public policy debate brewing in California -- whether marijuana should be legalized and taxed as a way of raising revenue for state governments. Just over 4 in 10 Americans (42%) say they would favor this in their own state; 56% are opposed. Support is markedly higher among residents of the West -- where an outright majority favor the proposal -- than in the South and Midwest. The views of Eastern residents fall about in the middle.

The new findings come as the U.S. Justice Department has reportedly decided to loosen its enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws by not pursuing individuals who buy or sell small amounts of the drug in conformity with their own states' medical marijuana laws. This seems likely to meet with U.S. public approval, as previous Gallup polling has found Americans generally sympathetic to legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. In 2003, 75% of Americans favored allowing doctors to legally prescribe marijuana to patients in order to reduce pain and suffering.

Basic Support for Legalization Highest Among Liberals

The highest level of support for decriminalizing the use of marijuana today is seen with self-described liberals, among whom 78% are in favor. In contrast, 72% of conservatives are opposed. Moderates are about evenly divided on whether the use of marijuana should be legal, although they tilt against it (51% vs. 46%).

Somewhat milder differences are seen according to political party, mainly because of the tempered support of Democrats relative to that of liberals. However, a solid 70% of Republicans -- similar to the rate seen among conservatives -- are opposed.

Gallup also finds a generational rift on the issue, as 50% of those under 50 and 45% of those 50 to 64 say it should be legal, compared with 28% of seniors.

Basic Support Swells Among Certain Groups

Most of the expansion in support for legalizing marijuana since Gallup last measured this in 2005 is seen among women, younger Americans, Democrats, moderates, and liberals. By comparison, there has been little change in the views of men, seniors, Republicans, independents, and conservatives. Regionally, support has grown the most in the West and Midwest.

Bottom Line

Public mores on legalization of marijuana have been changing this decade, and are now at their most tolerant in at least 40 years. If public support were to continue growing at a rate of 1% to 2% per year, as it has since 2000, the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years.

Americans are no more -- and no less -- in favor of legalizing marijuana when the issue is framed as a revenue-enhancement tool for state governments. Regardless of how the question is asked, 53% of Americans living in the West -- encompassing California, where the issue could be on the ballot in 2010 -- support legalization.

#308187 - 10/26/09 07:22 PM Re: Support for Legalizing Marijuana Reaches New High [Re: Hauser]
michael banks Offline

Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca

i will vote in favor of legalization if and when it gets on the ballot here in Ca. We could also save alot of money by freeing those in jail whose's only crimamal behavior is in regards to using drugs.
Also look at how much violence and crime will be reduced if we would take this business out of the hands of gang members on both sides of the border.


To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

WOR Alumni Sequoia 2009

#308191 - 10/26/09 07:53 PM Re: Support for Legalizing Marijuana Reaches New High [Re: michael banks]
Moortje Offline

Registered: 03/20/09
Posts: 104
Loc: Oregon
I read about this a day or two ago. It's good news for sure, even though I don't smoke!

As usual, Oregon has been ahead of the curve on this: the first state to decriminalize (in 1973!), and one of the first to legalize for medical use. Efforts to re-criminalize have been met with voter fury, with such initiatives getting steamrolled by margins of like 2/3rds against. I would expect no less from the state that delivered a brutal left hook to John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales over our Death with Dignity act. smile

Kind of a funny anecdote: I had a female coworker once who's husband had recently lost his eye in a drunken barfight. He was delighted though, because it meant that he could get A) a green (medical marijuana) card, and B) a really cool eyepatch. Classy.


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