In a dramatic switch from recent decades, a clear majority of Americans say smoking marijuana on a recreational basis should be legal. In fact, a new CNN-ORC International poll indicates that the moral stigma attached with smoking the drug has plummeted, too, and now fewer find fault with the activity in terms of seeing it as a sign of subpar values.
Specifically: Fully 55 percent of survey respondents said marijuana should be legal. Only 44 percent said it should remain illegal.
CNN said Americans have been slowly but steadily embracing the idea of legalized marijuana for the last 25 years. In 1987, about 16 percent supported legalizing the drug. In 1996, that statistic was 26 percent; in 2002, it was 34 percent, and just a couple years ago, it was 43 percent.
But this is the first time a clear majority found sense in legalizing the drug.
Still, there are several key demographic differences, CNN said.
“There are big differences on age, region, party ID and gender. . . . . READ MORE
Ten of 13 members of the D.C. Council and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) have endorsed a plan to make small-time marijuana possession a civil rather than a criminal offense. That means recreational cannabis users wouldn’t face arrest, charges or jail time — any of which can destroy their lives — as long as they aren’t caught with more than an ounce of the drug. Instead, they would have to pay a fine, perhaps as low as $25. (The mayor also wants criminal penalties to remain for anyone caught using it in public.)
Much of the debate over the idea has focused on an American Civil Liberties Union report that suggests that the District and many other jurisdictions enforce their anti-marijuana laws unfairly, disproportionately arresting African American suspects. On these pages, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier pushed back, insisting that factors such as a geographic concentration of tips about marijuana users, not biased policing, are responsible for the city’s arres. . . . . READ MORE
A Gallup poll released Tuesday revealed a majority of adults back cannabis legalization for the first time since Gallup asked the question in 1969.
58% of the respondents supported the idea, but among 18- to 29-year-olds the figure jumps to 67%.
Michael Kenney, professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, says supportive attitudes were inevitable among Millennials who came of age in the midst of the legalization debate.
“Every year, millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are using cannabis,” Kenney says. “It’s not necessarily looked down on by young people. It’s no big whoop.”
Karilla Dyer, a junior at the University of Florida, meets very few people who haven’t tried the drug. Smoking should be considered a lifestyle choice, she says.
“If someone wants to smoke marijuana occasionally in a social setting or just to relax, it should not be more illegal than having a glass of wine,” the 21-year-old says. “Pot is not something that ruins lives.”
Currently, 20 states and Washington, D.C., a. . . . . READ MORE
A majority of Texas voters support marijuana legalization, according to a recent survey. Public Policy Polling found that 58 percent of Texans “support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol.” Even more — 61 percent — were in favor of decriminalizing marijuana possession and instead punishing violations with a civil citation.
Texas law currently views possession of marijuana, even on a minute scale, as a criminal offense, punishable by $2,000 in fines and up to a year of jail time. The PPP survey of 860 randomly selected Texas voters was released by the Marijuana Policy Project.
“Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market,” MPP executive director Rob Kampia said in a release.
In addition, the poll found that a majority of Texas voters support changing state law to permit critically ill and terminal patients to use medical marijuana — only 31 percent said they were opposed.
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Peter Shumlin, the state’s governor, made a telling distinction between weed and “harder” drugs when he announced the move. “This legislation allows our courts and law enforcement to focus their limited resources more effectively to fight highly addictive opiates such as heroin and prescription drugs that are tearing apart families and communities,” he said.
The idea that weed isn’t that big a deal and that governments need to readjust their priorities is pretty common. There’s little vocal anti-pot government outcry, no temperance movement analog for cannabis. Recent polls have found that a majority of Americans think marijuana should be legalized.
Even our mainstream faces of stoner culture are generally silly, harmless and amiable (Jeff Spicoli, Cheech & Chong, Harold & Kumar, and whatever Snoop is calling himself these days) except when they’re revered and saintly (read: Bob Marley). On TV, there was Weeds, a dramedy about an upper-middle-class widow who st. . . . . READ MORE
The time is at hand for the Obama administration to stop dithering, to take a clear position on the rights of Washington state and Colorado — and by precedent all others — to experiment with legalized marijuana.
That’s what Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and John Hickenlooper of Colorado are asking the Justice Department to do — even though they personally opposed the marijuana legalization measures their voters approved last November.
The governors insist they can make their states’ new laws work well through responsible regulations that license, regulate and tax the production and sale of marijuana. New state labeling laws, say supporters, will also remove confusion and dangerous use levels by showing the potency in terms of THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, analogous to the labeling of alcoholic beverages.
Clearly it’s a direction the American people — who favor marijuana legalization 52 to 41 percent in recent polling — would approve.
A collaborative approach would be consistent with President Obama’s own marijuana history — a substance he tried himself as a youth. Asked last December about the Co. . . . . READ MORE