Chris Bowers has a great essay up at Open Left with numbers that might surprise you (or not).
Two recent polls show that legalizing marijuana, which is not treated as a mainstream position by either the political or media establishment, to be more popular than numerous other positions that are considered mainstream.
Two recent polls show that legalizing marijuana, which is not treated as a mainstream position by either the political or media establishment, to be more popular than numerous other positions that are considered mainstream. First, here are the polls:
CBS News/New York Times Poll. Jan. 11-15, 2009. N=1,112 adults nationwide
“Do you think that the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?”
Should not 52%, Should 41%, Unsure 7%
Rasmussen, February 13-14, 1,000 adults
In a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, Americans are closely divided on the question of whether marijuana should be legalized: 40% say it should be, while 46% disagree. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure which course is better.(…)
Americans under the age of 40 are much more supportive of legalizing the drug than are older Americans.
Bowers continues :
While legalizing marijuana is not a majority or a plurality position at this time, it is very close to becoming one. Not only do the long-term trendlines show a dramatic shift in favor of legalization, but a majority of the population under the age of 40 is already in favor of legalization.
He also provides a great list with positions that have less support than the legalization of marijuana. Head over to Open Left and check them out.
In short, legalizing marijuana is more popular than the Republican Party, most leading Republicans, and virtually the entire Republican platform.
It’s a great way to frame this debate.
The best part about the numbers is the fact that most people under 40 favor at least the partial legalization of weed. In a not so distant future we can at least take marijuana seriously for medical reasons. I’m not fully advocating smoke shops but the current marijuana laws unfairly taget minorities and lower income youth. Every argument I’ve ever heard against cannabis is basically a variation on the theme: “It will fuck up your life”.
There’s just one problem with this theory.
No amount of cannabis will mess up your life worse than being thrown into jail for year or two. We’re throwing literally hundreds of thousands of people into jail over a “drug” that has proven to be a lot less harmful than many prescription meds and the obvious alcohol and tobacco combo.
A great study by drugpolicy.org on the Dutch approach to drug policy.
Decriminalization of the possession of soft drugs for personal use and the toleration of sales in controlled circumstances has not resulted in a worryingly high level of consumption among young people. The extent and nature of the use of soft drugs does not differ from the pattern in other Western countries. As for hard drugs, the number of addicts in the Netherlands is low compared with the rest of Europe and considerably lower than that in France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Dutch rates of drug use are lower than U.S. rates in every category.
The way to advocate repeal of marijuana laws is to demonstrate that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and to show to the public that their biggest fears about marijuana …
“Think of all the new addiction problems!”
“Think of all the lost productivity!”
“It would give a new meaning to ‘high school’!”
“Think of all the new health problems!”
“Think of all those brains turning to mush!”
… are bullshit.
It took a concerted effort for certain powers to vilify marijuana. It will take a concerted effort to undo that vilification.
It seems like we’re on the right path to doing just that.