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Pew: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director April 5, 2010

    No fooling. On Friday, April 1st the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released a report looking at both public support for medicinal access to cannabis as well as the larger issue of legalization. 602-1

    The results of the Pew survey confirm previous NORML reports about the overall popularity of cannabis law reform despite 73-years of cannabis prohibition:

    -Strong and undeniable public support now exists nationwide for medical patients having access to cannabis;

    -A fast growing plurality of Americans now support outright legalization of cannabis

    With a growing number of states moving to legalize medical marijuana, nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say they favor their state allowing the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes if it is prescribed by a doctor, while 23% are opposed. Support for legalizing medical marijuana spans all major political and demographic groups, and is equally high in states that have and have not already passed laws on this issue.

    There are public concerns about legalizing medical marijuana. For example, 45% say they would be very or somewhat concerned if a store that sold medical marijuana opened near other stores in their area. And roughly the same percentage (46%) says allowing medical marijuana makes it easier for people to get marijuana even if they don’t have a real medical need – though just 26% of Americans say this is something that concerns them. These concerns are highest among opponents of legalizing medical marijuana, but are no higher or lower in states that already allow marijuana for medical purposes.

    Far more Americans favor allowing marijuana for prescribed medical purposes than support a general legalization of marijuana. But the proportion who thinks the use of marijuana should be legal has continued to rise over the past two decades.

    The most recent national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March 10-14 among 1,500 adults on landlines and cell phones, finds that 41% of the public thinks the use of marijuana should be made legal while 52% do not. In 2008, 35% said it should be legal and 57% said the use of marijuana should not be legal, according to data from the General Social Survey. Twenty years ago, only 16% of the public said the use of marijuana should be legal and 81% said it should not be legal.Far more Americans favor allowing marijuana for prescribed medical purposes than support a general legalization of marijuana. But the proportion who thinks the use of marijuana should be legal has continued to rise over the past two decades.

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    Read entire report and view the numerous survey charts with cross tabulations here.

    68 Responses to “Pew: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana”

    1. mike says:

      WHY DO I SUPPORT LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA? I support legalization So that as a parent I don’t have to worry about my girls smoking pot when they are 12 or even younger. In today’s times it is easier for our kids to get their hands on pot than a pack of cigarettes. If marijuana is legalized then it could be better controlled and kept out of the hands of our youth. Any legitimate business owner is not going to sell to our kids because of the risk of loosing their business but please tell me what does a dealer who is already breaking the law have to loose? There will always be dealers willing to sell to our children as long as marijuana remains illegal. When my girls are 21 if they want to light up it’s no different to me than them taking a drink. I feel as an adult they can make there own decisions. Until that time I would like to think I have done everything I can to keep it out of their hands and you should do the same for your children. Honestly as a parent I would rather my children smoke marijuana at 21 than drink because it doesn’t cause the physical damage to their body that drinking does and marijuana is far less inhibiting. No one has ever woken up in the morning and not remembered the night before from smoking pot. The first argument that is always thrown out against legalization is that marijuana is a gateway drug. This is nothing more than an uneducated statement. The only gateway that exists is provided by prohibition. Prohibition is provided by people who need to read the facts and stop listening to the lies. The fact is that the people selling marijuana are also the ones dealing the dangerous drugs. Drug dealers want to move our kids from pot to something more addictive because it puts more money in their pockets. If marijuana was legal then this problem would simply not exist. If a person does hard drugs its not because marijuana made him want to it’s because that person wanted to try hard drugs due to their own judgment. If marijuana didn’t exist that same person would have still wanted to try hard drugs. If your child or someone you know has ever became addicted to cocaine or meth or any other dangerous drugs you should be the first to vote to legalize marijuana so that our police and lawmakers can put their attention toward the dangerous drugs that actually kill our children. Have you ever heard of anyone overdosing on marijuana? Marijuana has been around since the beginning of time and there is not one medical case, again let me say this to stress this NOT ONE case of someone that only used marijuana having cancer due to their marijuana usage. Americans should read a few medical reports before making uneducated comments. Someone could also make the statement that caffeine is the biggest gateway drug in existence because it’s the drug introduced into most of our lives first but no one is preaching that. Why? Because making a statement like that would be ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as saying that marijuana is a gateway drug. Marijuana is not an addictive drug. This has been medically proven. Do potheads like to get stoned and enjoy smoking? Yes, but if they stop smoking there are no withdrawal symptoms. No headaches, no shakes, and no feeling like you will die if you don’t soon find some pot. This is unlike the other drugs that marijuana remains classified with that kill people each and every day. If there are not any withdrawal symptoms in the absence of a substance after regular use then it is simply not addictive substance period. Caffeine is an addictive substance which has withdrawal symptoms and people give it to their children every day. Another argument I have heard is that the legalization of marijuana will lead to an increase in our crime rate. Logical thinking tells me that the legalization of marijuana will actually have an opposite affect. Legalization could not only fund our police through tax funds but also free our police to concentrate on the drugs that actually cause people to commit crimes due to their unbearable withdrawal symptoms. The addiction of stronger drugs is what leads people to comment crimes and not the drug itself. The thought of the addict is that they must do what it takes to get there next fix at any cost no matter what the consequences. You simply cannot blame crime on a non-addictive substance. The only affect marijuana has on crime is due to prohibition itself. Prohibition pushes all the money from marijuana being sold strait into funding the crime world. Why do we continue to support crime cartels when we could use the much needed money to help Americans in need by taxing marijuana thus removing our national deficit and lowering our taxes? Legalization would also bring us another valuable product called industrial hemp. Hemp is a product that is softer, stronger and more durable than cotton and can be used to manufacture many different products. The vast list of materials and fuels that can be made from hemp shows truly how valuable this plant is yet today in our troubled times it remains illegal. Do you remember when America was a large provider of textiles to the rest of the world? You can easily see that most of our textile companies have moved overseas by looking at the vast empty textile mills scattered across America. Our workers have lost their jobs due to these factories closing and moving away. Legalization could bring those much needed jobs home. Can marijuana be abused you ask? Yes I will admit that marijuana can be abused but you could say that about any substance in existence. You can abuse sugar easily and it’s found everywhere in our food and drinks and obesity kills Americans every day. Does this mean sugar should be an illegal substance and you should go to prison and have a criminal record for the rest of your life for possession of a Hershey bar? WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT LEGALIZATION? The only way to stop this problem is to legalize it. If you think otherwise you’re just fooling yourself by listening to the propaganda. Most Americans and a large percentage of our law enforcement support legalization but their voice is not heard due to the fear of being alienated by colleagues and ridiculed as a pothead due to the lies that have been told to us all. I think it’s time everyone to stop waiting on the inevitable and speak out. The one person in political office deemed responsible for the legalization of marijuana will be placed in our history books and regarded as a hero for saving this country.

    2. The Fact says:

      Safeway is like the Pharmacies……..they are doing what they can to knock out any competition ( Marijuana in this case ) by doing the ” drug testing ” B.S. thing . Safeway , like Pharmacies sell / push hard drugs like Alcohol & medications .

    3. mtlasagna says:

      there’s a lot of geezers who understand the value of medicinal mj.

      the word is spreading

    4. William says:

      #41 Thanks, No more war please. And let”s clean all the empty beer cans up off the road,adopt stray cats,and take a stand against child abuse and domistic violence. Peace and a better life with legalization.

    5. mtlasagna says:

      the power brokers opposed to cannabis are not open to reason. repeat

      this is a very important concept in terms of approach here and now.

      clearly and painfully do i remember all the fear, hatred and anger aimed at the flower children.

      the nixonian controlled substances act of 1970 was nasty revenge on those of us who wanted no part of the military industrial not-so-complex. the establishment realized that we represented the hope of the end of vampire capitalism.

      exercise your cannabinoid receptors.

      peace

    6. jf says:

      Im actually in a court process concerning the growing of medical marijuana for recreational use . so needless to say have been reading up. now my point is in studies on what the average U.S citizens views are on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use are slightly off. when the media as well as the law are on t.v or giving speaches their jobs tell them to pump this idea of marijuana is bad into your mind repeatedly . There paid to do so. Now you cant tell me at least 75 percent of these people didn’t smoke a dube or two . Gateway drug ? I think not. I’m content with my pot . Answer me this those who appose pot . Do you know of or about someone who went and committed a violent crime because they were drunk? Now do you know a stoner a genuine stoner who is going to shoot up a house ,commit murder etc . Most marijuana users are more then likely just going to sit on the couch , buy munchies which hey helps the economy , or go to work in order to buy there pot . “in most cases”…

    7. common_sense says:

      Now ask the same group of people if the #1 cause of death of children under 21, ALCOHOL, was illegal would they still get drunk while deciding the fate of people that smoke weed instead of drinking baby raper juice? Beer, wine, whiskey, vodka, wine coolers all drugs that kill children and drive people insane enough to think that getting 3 yr old girls drunk and raping them is still better than growing and smoking a plant with no children around.

      ALL THESE DOCTORS AND SCIENTISTS AND EVIL GOVERNMENT MUST PROVE THEY ARE NOT ON ANY ALCOHOL, PILLS, ETC. THEY SHOULD ALL TAKE DAILY DRUG TESTS SO WE ALL KNOW THAT DRUNK HYPOCRITES don`t control us for another 80 YEARS. Wake up people. The alcohol companies either work with us 100% to get marijuana legalized 100% or we can all enjoy a little thing I like to call “Forced Sobriety”. No more drunk baby-raper parties, no more pill popping parties, Just decade after decade of angry, boring soberness. Legalize marijuana or alcohol will soon be put into a light that drunks don`t want to shine on their hypocritical child abusing asses.
      The older I get after having my life destroyed because I grew a plant, the more focused I become on alcohol. The drunk baby-raper next door continues to get Social security disability even after raping 2 of my nieces and 5 other girls. He only got 2 years. Plead insanity. The only thing that made him insane was the alcohol. So now he smiles as he collects money from the government, that looks the other way when a fellow drunken pedophile squirts a little beer in a baby. If I can`t grow a fucking plant legally by next year I am focusing all my efforts on getting ALCOHOL and the pedophiles it creates out of our society. DRUNKS, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

    8. Gene says:

      It is great that marijuana legalization is gaining so much success but the real gain would be in the industrial hemp industry and this is the real reason marijuana is illegal. Also this is the only plant that
      that can put an end to the industrial processes that are ruining our invironment.

    9. Gene says:

      It is great that marijuana legalization is gaining so much success but the real gain would be in the industrial hemp industry and this is the real reason marijuana is illegal. Also this is the only plant that
      that can put an end to the industrial processes that are ruining our invironment.

    10. packlama says:

      i think im a geezer.im 53 and ive smoked for 36 years.i can remember when a lid of columbo was 15 dollors.my have prices gone up.lets get it legal now

    11. mike says:

      Hey packlama. You old stony geezer, wow 36 years! Well according to all against legalization you must be dying of cancer and hooked on some major drugs by now because marijuana is a gateway drug right? You must have a terrible time with the mental problem marijuana also causes. Man your life must suck-unless wait, does that mean that someone is not telling us the truth? Hmmm……….

    12. bighare1 says:

      You people need to wake up…!!!
      Marijuana is illegal because Uncle Sam is the conspiritor against the people! They are into our pockets for anything and everything they can scam us out of…our jobs, our property values, our homes, tax here, tax there, tax everywhere…why do you think the weed costs so much…Because Uncle Sam is a “Greedy Dog”.
      I say to OBAMA, legalize the marijuana immediately and save billions of dollars over all this hoopla about marijuana. CREATE industries and businesses, create jobs for Americans…Do it soon because right now is growing season!!!!DON’T WASTE TIME!!!……GET US ON TRACK, OBAMA, YOU CAN DO IT, BUDDY. PLEASE PUT A STOP TO ALL THIS GOVERNMENT SCAMMING AGAINST THE PEOPLE. GIVE BACK TO THE PEOPLE, “THE SPIRIT OF THE NATION” WHICH WE DESERVE…LEGALIZE MARIJUANA NOW!!! WE WILL HONOUR OUR COUNTRY EVEN MORE…
      MARYJANE WANTS TO HELP US AND OUR ECONOMY!!!!, BUT NEEDS YOUR APPROVAL NOW FOR BLESSINGS UNTOLD.
      NOT JUST THE CARTELS BUT THE US GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL MOONLIGHTING CAREAR NEEDS TO BE OVER FOR GOOD.

    13. bighare1 says:

      MANY UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE NEED JOBS!!!
      LEGALIZE MARIJUANA NOW!!!
      GIVE PEACE A CHANCE!!!
      MARYJANE WANTS TO HELP!!!
      GROWING SEASON IS NOW!!!
      MANY AMERICANS OUT OF JOB!!!
      CUT THE RED TAPE AND STOP WASTING MUCH NEEDED TAX DOLLARS FOR ALL THIS LEGISLATION HOOPLA!!!
      JUST DO IT!!!
      DON’T WAIT!!!
      DID I HEAR SOMEONE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT A “TEA PARTY”!?!

    14. Medical marijuana should be legal, the data speaks for itself. The majority of the population thinks that it should be legal, so makes us think why it is still an issue. Medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law in all states. If someone is sick, they should be allowed the right to seek enjoyment from smoking weed. Medical marijuana has been use to treat many symptoms. For example it has been used for stimulate appetite, relieve chronic pain, and treat asthma and migraines. “Marijuana is the safest therapeutically active substance known to man” said by your own Dea judge Francis Young. So if everyone thinks that medical marijuana should be legal and its only brings us solutions, what have we been waiting for?

    15. meagain says:

      “The reasons for the placement can, and should, be clearly explained at the time the action is taken. The fear of sending such a signal cannot be permitted to override the legitimate need, amply demonstrated in this record, of countless suffers for the relief marijuana can provide when prescribed by a physician in a legitimate case.” – 1988 ruling against the DEA by Judge Young to reschedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II (which never happened).

      http://www.druglibrary.org/olsen/medical/young/young1.html

    16. d says:

      your think your pissed it took this long to legalize, think of all the people wrongfully instatutionalized in mental hospitals over medical use of cannabis. ps psych drugs make you way crazier then you were in the first place, like so driven to try to be sane, that you are afraid to even open your mouth..

    17. MaximusFun says:

      How many pharmaceutical companies and research entities stand to lose business, with the advent of a competitor product. I bet our politicians are financial tied to these big pharmaceutical companies, and so legislatively the politicians and pharmaceutical companies would lose. Why would they want change?

    18. High says:

      Wanna talk about weed, just chill, or talk about music whatever else? Visit ston3d.net

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