New Survey: Most Americans Want to Legalize and Regulate Pot Like Alcohol and Tobacco

An advocacy group unveiled this billboard near Denver’s Mile High stadium months before a ballot to legalize marijuana.

From Alternet

Most voters want marijuana to be legal, according to a new telephone survey of 1,000 Likely Voters.  The survey found that 56% — “a solid majority of voters nationwide” —  favor  legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol and tobacco.

As AlterNet has pointed out, marijuana is much safer than alcohol and cigarrettes, but harsh pot laws may encourage some people who would otherwise get stoned to drink instead.  Legalizing and regulating the plant may thus allow some people to make safer decisions without risking un-necessary legal consequences.

What’s more, according to the survey (conducted by Ramussen Reports), most voters do not think it should be a crime to enjoy marijuana in the privacy of one’s own home. Only 36% of voters — a much smaller minority —  reportedly oppose legalizing and regulating marijuana like booze and cigarrettes.

A Colorado initiative to do exactly what we now know most voters support, “Regulate Like Marijuana Like Alcohol and Tobacco,”  made the ballot this winter, and voters will have the chance to turn their support for reform into real legislation this November. That same month, voters in Washington will determine whether similar legalization legislation becomes law in their state.

The survey is significant to recent conversations surrounding the electoral influence of pro-pot voters. The recent Oregon Attorney General election, which centered around the medical marijuana issue, produced a strong pro-pot Democratic candidate’s victory over a pot-farm-busting former Interum U.S. Attorney, and was widely considered a referendum on  medical marijuana. While some drug policy activists think the election will have a national impact, others are more skeptical that Oregon’s politics may affect legislation as far away as the East Coast.  What is clear, however, is that politicians will eventually have to realize they are ignoring a crucial issue, as well as a solid bloc of voters accompanying it.

Do you think Marijuana should be decriminalized? Grand Magazine Poll Results

Source May 24, 2011

As a sign that reefer madness may be subsiding; attitudes about the criminalization of marijuana may be changing among the elders of our society, as the more than 70 million of the baby boomer generation, one to widely experiment with recreational drug use, have and will become grandparents.

GRAND Magazine, the online magazine for today’s grandparents, released today results from their poll question which appeared in the March/April issue. It asked readers if it was time to legalize marijuana. 85% responded that they agreed it was.

The pot proponents argued that it is hypocritical to outlaw pot when cigarettes, alcohol and fat-laden foods are legal but account for so many health issues among our population. They point out that marijuana is used to treat medical symptoms such as pain and nausea, and that in some states it is legal for shops to dispense medical marijuana. The billions that are spent in the U.S. on policing and courts related to this issue could be spent on better schools or infrastructure.

Circa the 1960s began a time with widespread experimentation with many recreational drugs. Grandparents who are part of the baby boomer generation (those born from 1946 to 1964) have a unique perspective on marijuana, having come of age during a time when pot use became mainstream. 21st century grandparents are a group with a growing influence on the country’s youth as 5,000 adults each day in the U.S. becomes a grandparent, and are the primary caregivers for nearly 6 million children. In fact 75 percent of all non-parental care of children is provided by a grandparent, representing a large shift in family dynamics. Now it seems that as they guide and influence new generations, they view marijuana use increasingly as a harmless indulgence rather than a gateway to a lifetime of drug abuse.

Among the reader response comments were:

“I am a grandparent strongly in favor of decriminalization. I would much rather my grandkids smoke pot than use cigarettes or alcohol. I expect I will need cannabis for my health soon and don’t want (it) to be illegal. The whole charade needs to stop; we are blowing far too much money on the drug war and have no positive results to show for it. The whole approach is counterproductive,” said D.W., Guysville, OH.

“I am a grandparent of a 17 year-old granddaughter who has been struggling with drug addiction since she was 14 years old. I believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and it has always been her reluctance to give up pot that has brought her back again and again to more dangerous drugs. I understand that the same arguments that have been used for years with the responsible adult consumption of alcohol apply to responsible adult use of pot. … I would vote against legal sale of marijuana…,” said A.C.

To read additional reader responses, click here
The link to the page in the GRAND magazine March/April online edition op-ed reader poll that asks, ‘Is it time to legalize marijuana?’ is: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/grand/20110304_v3/index.php#/51/OnePage
 

The Fraudulent Criminalization of Marijuana

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For almost 40 years, the United States has waged a war on its own citizens who have used marijuana as a part of a drug culture originally encouraged by the government. The war was commenced despite the government’s own findings that marijuana posed less of a risk to American society than alcohol, and that the greatest harm that would result from criminalization would be the injury caused to those arrested for possession and use. The harm caused by the war extends beyond its 15 million prisoners; its cost has exceeded a trillion dollars, and it has benefitted only those who profit from the illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana.

Government Responsibility for the Drug Culture

Via TruthOut Drug use became endemic among U.S. troops serving in Vietnam with more than 80% getting stoned on marijuana and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Many of the secrets are still hidden; however, we now have some information about the extent of the government’s responsibility for the development of the drug culture in the military and in communities across America. These are the highlights: Continue reading