More Evidence That Most Americans Oppose Marijuana Prohibition

Senate Judiciary CommitteeSenate Judiciary CommitteeAccording to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 55 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, which is similar to the results of a CNN poll conducted a few weeks ago and a Gallup poll conducted last fall. The wording of the latest survey was unusual, asking respondents how they would react "if a law passed in your state that allowed adults to purchase small quantities of marijuana for their own personal use from regulated, state-licensed businesses." Only 19 percent said they would "actively work to overturn it," while another 24 percent said they would oppose the law without seeking to change it. On the pro side, 24 percent of respondents said they would "actively support" the law, while another 31 percent said they would favor it without actively supporting it.

By comparison, 54 percent of respondents in the CNN poll said "the sale of marijuana should be made legal," 58 percent of respondents in the Gallup poll said "the use of marijuana should be made legal," and  53 percent of respondents in a Reason-Rupe survey conducted last January said "the government should treat marijuana the same as alcohol." Two other recent polls found less support for legalization: 51 percent for legalizing "the use of marijuana" in a CBS News survey completed last week and 49 percent for "legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use" in a Washington Post/ABC News poll earlier this month. Still, all but one of the polls so far this year has found majority support for legalization, suggesting that Americans really have crossed that threshold or will soon. How soon Kevin Sabet will admit it is another question.

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  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Any new word on opposing slavery?

    Liberty should not be left to polling.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Agreed, but it's nice to know it's not political poison. If the craven sociopaths of our political class know they won't be punished (or better yet, will be rewarded) for giving us back our freedoms, they're more likely to support it.

  • John||

    Yes. And beyond that, the purpose of government is to provide just mediation of conflicts between people. We have criminal law because when one person victimizes another we don't want to leave justice for that to the vagaries of vigilante justice.

    But that justification breaks down if there is no victim. When I use drugs I am at worst harming myself. So what is the government's role there? If you say the government has a role in stepping in and making sure I act in what it feels is my own best interests, you have lost the argument.

    Conservative drug warriors never get this. They hate drugs and think people should be stopped from using them. Okay, Progs hate transfats and guns and a lot of other things and think people should be prohibited from using them. Once the conservatives have conceded that yes government's role is not just to mediate disputes between people but to make sure people at some level act in their own best interests, they have lost the argument. People being fat and owning guns and smoking really does cause harm. The world would no doubt be better if no one were fat or smoked. So how can we not want the government to step in?

    Back when we had a classical liberal democracy, drugs were not illegal, public drunkenness or not paying your lawful debts was. The government only stepped in if your behavior victimized someone else. We have totally lost sight of that distinction.

  • Robert||

    "Conservative" drug warriors don't hate drugs, they hate the people who use them, mostly because the people who use drugs illegally are flouting the law and hence social norms, and partly because they're enjoying themselves. If it were completely different drugs that were illegal and whose use was associated with rebellion, they'd hate those people instead. It has nothing to do with the actual properties of the drugs.

    "Liberal" drug warriors probably really do hate the effects of the drugs themselves, and for the most part not their users. However, at this point they also hate tobacco smokers, now that their proportion of the popul'n has dwindled enough, because they're demonstrating resistance to "reason" by doing something everybody else knows is bad for them.

  • John||

    That is a good distinction.

  • Robert||

    "Liberals" turned against tobacco smokers the way Martin Luther did against Jews.

  • Robert||

    Most people who oppose liberalizing the narcotics laws but aren't the prime movers against liberaliz'n haven't thought about it much, and to the extent they have, it goes mostly like this:

    They call this thing a "drug", and drugs are supposed to be medicine, and you've got to be an expert to know about medicines, so let's trust the experts regarding how these things should be handled. The gov't has lots of experts who've formulated these policies, so they're probably the right thing. It might be otherwise if it appeared the rules were the product of some moneyed group or other interested pressure faction, but they don't appear to be. So why should we upend the applecart?

    There's a significant amount of this operating too:

    People seem to act strangely under the influence of these things, and they attract a criminal element or possibly make people into criminals. So best they be suppressed, lest we make or attract more criminals into our midst.

  • Paul Pot||

    And support keeps GROWING for the very good reason that prohibition has absolutely no substance to it.
    Now that more than half of Americans recognize this, people will be less afraid to speak up for their beliefs, convincing others and support will grow exponentially.
    A lot is going to happen regarding this issue in the next 2 yrs and the 2016 election will be the showdown for the drug war.

  • RishJoMo||

    That dude knows what is going on man.

    www.Anon-Stuff.tk

  • judeoconnor@mac.com||

    A fact, pot effects the memory, and that's one of the good reasons it's forbidden at the power plants, along with alcohol, and other drugs to numerous to mention. Pot is detectable in your system for thirty days and it will be in your system if you happen to be a non smoker but attend a party where most are getting high on weed. If you have a poppy seed bagel every morning for breakfast you will test positive for heroin. The technology is that sharp. If you need and want your job stay away from the drug scene, it's nothing to fool with and proving yourself innocent will cost more than a lot of drugs.

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