Marijuana Intensity

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Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project reports some interesting polling data from Vermont and Rhode Island: As usual, large majorities (71 percent and 69 percent, respectively) said patients whose doctors think they would benefit from marijuana should be able to obtain it legally, but only a minority of respondents in each state (38 percent and 27 percent, respectively) realized the majority felt this way. Mirken suggests this divergence helps explain why politicians are reluctant to back medical marijuana despite strong popular support for that position. "People support medical marijuana by a whopping margin, but think they're in the minority," he says. "It's a safe bet that legislators and their campaign staffs are under the same misapprehension."

Possibly, but I suspect a more important reason for politicians' leeriness is that they believe (probably correctly) that people who oppose medical marijuana tend to feel more strongly about the issue than people who support it. (I'm thinking of the average voter on each side, not the activists.) If cannabis is such a potent symbol of evil to you that you can't even consider the possibility that it might have beneficial properties (as seemed to be the case, for example, with Clinton administration drug czar Barry McCaffrey), you are apt to read a politician's support for medical marijuana as an important signal. The same probably is not true for the typical person who does not object to medical use of the drug. If so, politicians could have more to lose by supporting medical marijuana than they would gain.

NEXT: Anybody But Kerry?

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  1. Possibly, but I suspect a more important reason for politicians’ leeriness is that they believe (probably correctly) that people who oppose medical marijuana tend to feel more strongly about the issue than people who support it.

    Jacob, we would like to know, but as it is, all discussion is simply limited to ourselves.

  2. Brent,

    You make a very good point. I am sure there are people, worried about the wiz-quiz that turn to booze and smokes instead. Just another reason to just say no to the war.

    Steve

  3. You can make paper out of it.

  4. Maybe the lesson is blog sites such as this where social outcasts can emote to beat the band like the sudden outpouring of crap after coitus with a one-night stand… will chip away at the media “received truth.”

    But what can we do about the hurdle of the chillin’ effect on the schlep employee: his fear of his employer gettin’ wind of his true, anti-company, negative-attitude Dilbert feelins??

    What about that?

    Here’s an idea: let’s make it a fad to ban euphamisms.

  5. Yup, I agree. That’s one of many funky ways politics works.

  6. Making opponents think they’re alone is a standard strategy of people in power. That’s one of the reasons why the federal government is censoring legalization ads in transit systems: not just because an ad can influence thinking, but because it will make people who agree with it realize that their view has some degree of popular support.

  7. Would getting front-page coverage (or TV news “Top Story” status) for the statistics inform enough people that they aren’t alone?

    I think this is an important news story. Do the media gatekeepers in Vermont and Rhode Island agree?

  8. Booze is far more dangerous than pot, I think. Funny thing… a friend of mine went to see his neurologist for a problem has has. The neurologist, a famed expert in his field from the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philly, said to him: “Stop the booze, stop the cigarettes…don’t worry about the weed…the other two things will kill you first”.

    Go figure.

    Brent!
    BRL, Inc.

  9. More likely, each party has different reasons for refusing to stop this ridiculous behavior.

    The Republicans are pandering to the religious right, whose views on marijuana use are obviously not going to be affected by scientific reasoning. These folks don’t even believe in evolution!

    The Democrats are trying to appeal to as many Republicans as possible, and the ways they have chosen to do this include a hard stand on crime and a hard stand against chemical freedom. These are less core issues to the Democrats, but they still attract critical swing voters.

    Please recall that the idiot Jimmy Carter took as us close as we have ever been to legalizing marijuana. That was shortly before the Democratic Party decided that it was necessary to pretend to be “macho” to attract Republic voters.

    Ronald Reagan’s victory, which was brought to him by conservative Democrats, showed the Democratic Party what they needed to do to succeed. And they did it.

    Bill Clinton, for all of his valueless wavering, appealed to the think mass of centrist voters.

    Can John Kerry do the same thing?

  10. Med pot is more popular than Bush.

    Kerry has not a clue.

    You don’t do this as a freedom issue. You focus on the government jailing sick people. You interview them in jail. Interview Peter McWilliam’s mother. etc.

  11. Med pot is more popular than Bush.

    Kerry has not a clue.

    You don’t do this as a freedom issue. You focus on the government jailing sick people. You interview them in jail. Interview Peter McWilliam’s mother. etc.

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