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NEW POLL: 74% of Americans Support Alternative Penalties for Marijuana

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director April 26, 2012

    A new poll, published today by Angus Reid Public Opinion, looks at the changing attitudes towards marijuana possession penalties in the UK, Canada, and the United States. The poll surveyed 1,011 Americans, 2,015 Britons, and 1,005 Canadians during March of this year. The results show that an overwhelming majority of citizens in these countries no longer believe marijuana possession should result in jail time.

    From Angus Reid:

    Majorities of respondents in the three countries (Britain 56%, Canada 68%, United States 74%) welcome the concept of using alternative penalties—such as fines, probation or community service—rather than prison for non-violent offenders. At least seven-in-ten Britons (70%), Americans (74%) and Canadians (78%) believe personal marijuana use should be dealt with through alternative penalties. Support for similar guidelines for credit card fraud, drunk driving and arson is decidedly lower.

    View the full report here.

    42 Responses to “NEW POLL: 74% of Americans Support Alternative Penalties for Marijuana”

    1. fishcreekbob says:

      Does’nt the science of cannabis beg to ask Whywon’t you stop these crime’s against humanity and treason against the Republic?

    2. Don M says:

      Statistics like these are sure to worry the private prison investors!

    3. Owen says:

      If they polled EVERYONE and EVERYONE wasn’t afraid to speak honestly (prohibition is a masterpiece in the art of brainwashing)the results would be 90% for full out legalization.

    4. Alex says:

      They didn’t even have an option to legalize? Talk about a propaganda poll, this is completely worthless.

    5. Sqwidman says:

      How about zero penalties because we are free individuals who have the right to consume what we wish. Those who perpetuate violence against possessors of flowers are truly evil (governments).

    6. Bradson says:

      I’m with you, Sqwidman. What are we being punished for? Preferring a non-toxic herb? Daring to disagree with official “studies” and thinking that cannabis is OK? Causing no harm? Personal enjoyment?

    7. Joe says:

      I agree with Sqwidman it’s bull that there are any penalties. Unfortunately, it will probably never become legal federally but we can at least hope and get some high quality regulated stuff for the medical patients who really need it. Even if it’s grown with 100% chemicals it’s better than the pill popping crap big pharma feeds 99% of the population.

    8. steve says:

      @owen: Not saying you’re wrong but where do you get you stats? (I am a supporter of MM)

    9. Jurrian DeCock says:

      Now, the weedpass is supposed to be implemented on 1 May in the south of The Netherlands. It is not popular, and its success remains to be seen. Modern societies have been moving in the direction of giving people more freedom. Once they have the freedom of unregistered cannabis use for adult recreational or medical purposes, it’s a genie that won’t go back into the bottle. It casts a shadow as to whether the control freaks want to roll back homosexual marriage, apartheid or civil rights, or you name it, whatever the mensch, the everyman & everywoman have made strides on.

      This report suggests to me that it is time for Great Britain and the other countries to legalize so that they stop outsourcing the supply to their citizens to Holland for the Brits and to neighboring provinces such as Limburg for others.

      It’s the perfect time for the U.S. to change it’s position and legalize. The greedy moneygrubbers on Wall Street or some other U.S. commodities stock exchange can reap the profits from worldwide cannabis traded in U.S. dollars. Their international security apparatus ought to be happy for the source of income to reconstitute Afghanistan and pay for NGOs throughout the trade areas. If more of the military and security costs can be borne by the host countries, there will be more actual currency units available to stimulate the U.S. economy, which key parts of the world depend on for consumption and infrastructure development.

    10. Dave Evans says:

      Umm, why should there be a penalty?

      We because we broke and law that isn’t really law since every legal expert can agree these marijuana laws aren’t A) consitutional and B) a simple abuse of authority. When some gets put in jail or is punished for marijuana society is just beating up on itself. It makes no sense.

    11. [...] Via NORML, check out this new data from an Angus Reid Public Opinion poll. Majorities of respondents in the three countries (Britain 56%, Canada 68%, United States 74%) welcome the concept of using alternative penalties—such as fines, probation or community service—rather than prison for non-violent offenders. At least seven-in-ten Britons (70%), Americans (74%) and Canadians (78%) believe personal marijuana use should be dealt with through alternative penalties. [...]

    12. Nancy Lee Garrett says:

      I live in Maryland so I am very disappointed with my legislators and especially, Governor O’Malley.So we Marylanders need to break down that wall between us, and the realization that the time has come to do the right thing, and legalize it. Maybe I am impatient because we have come a long way; in 40 years and we have NORML to thank God for! NORML!!

    13. jed says:

      well what do you know?

    14. jed says:

      how about a 200$ fine for possession?

    15. jed says:

      no fines for paraphernalia

    16. jed says:

      If you harm him u condemn our officers

    17. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Just grow it in your yard and be happy among friends who is also growing it in their yard. That is the real American dream.

    18. txpeloton says:

      “The results show that an overwhelming majority of citizens in these countries no longer believe marijuana possession should result in jail time.”

      If marijuana was defined simply, such as this:

      16. The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts
      of the smoke produced by the combustion
      of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

      then cannabis possession wouldn’t be a crime, and marijuana possession would only occur until it was exhaled.

      Demand a simple definition of marijuana, and google Talking Points for the Peloton.

    19. PUFFER says:

      This might work if there was a true crime for it. But as it stands the cigarettes and alcohal are still available in the United States killing people who partake or not of these killer drugs. But that’s where the pocket change is. Too bad there not after the big bucks from cannabis revenue that the farmers rightfully should grow. But it does’nt have to be this way. Prohibition is a lot like trying to keep a tight fist tight constantly only to find out that when you relax , it feels much better. Now try for yourself. See how long you can hold tight and feel how good it is to loosen it’s grip.

    20. Chad says:

      We should really change the laws in the states like Arizona where it could still be a felony for possession of Marijuana. I think this is a start, but now we need to spread the message and keep talking to you’re friends and family about this issue, the sooner we can do that, and get our parents back to NORML then we will win this. It is good to see that finally the tides are changing, but our work is not yet done people.

    21. jed says:

      come and go with me dell vikings

    22. jbkorn02 says:

      I’m starting to think we could get the polls to say 90% and obama still wouldnt take it serious

    23. Potimism says:

      I do believe marijuana will be legal one day but before then we will see more decriminalized laws be put into place. I predict that within the next few years marijuana will be a fine only offence and no jail time and later on down the road it will be legal, probably sometime in the 2020s or 30s.

    24. Hey, if anyone would like to help get another legalization initiative on the ballot this year, Oregon’s IP-24 campaign needs volunteers to help transcribe signed petition sheets into Excel spreadsheets (in order to check against the statewide voter database to determine whether signatures are valid or not).
      The campaign has already gathered 90,000 raw signatures and has until July 6 to submit 116,000 valid signatures. If interested in helping out, send an email to: csle.volunteers@gmail.com.

    25. Sam Blake says:

      It should just be legalized worldwide!

    26. Just An Observer says:

      This is good news? I’ll wait until the headline says “74% Support No Penalties For Pot” to cheer.

    27. [...] NEW POLL: 74% of Americans Support Alternative Penalties for Marijuana A new poll, published today by Angus Reid Public Opinion, looks at the changing attitudes towards marijuana possession penalties in the UK, Canada, and the United States. The poll surveyed 1,011 Americans, 2,015 Britons, and 1,005 Canadians during March of this year. The results show that an overwhelming majority of citizens in these countries no longer believe marijuana possession should result in jail time. From Angus Reid: Majorities of respondents in the three countries (Britain 56%, Canada 68%, United States 74%) welcome the concept of using alternative penalties—such as fines, [...] [...]

    28. NotChoMama says:

      I think that lobbyists and the big pharmaceutical companies will always pin down the government (those who can pad pockets will always win) and keep marijuana ‘just out of reach’ of people searching for that alternative medicine. There are always ways of making a ‘study’ sway one way or another….

    29. Dave Evans says:

      The idea one should be punished for owning marijuana, whether it is burning or not, and that this has something to doing with “protecting the public” is simply false.

      In perspective, St. John’s Wort is many times more dangerous than the strongest marijuana. Magically, all that is needed to “protect the public” is a warning label. These laws need changed immediately. Not when politicians “feel like it”.

      You need to “feel it” President Obama. Please stop being a dismissive prick. Thank-you.

    30. jed says:

      @Jbkorn02 why not just start a war then? Why are we even in afghanistan? They could be growing us weed which they already are… hmm idk

    31. Ted says:

      there shouldn’t be alternative or any penalties. It’s not a crime. It’s not even deserving of criticism.

      This is social conditioning that leads to the stupid nonsense that claims that there is something “wrong” or “bad” about cannabis.

      Cannabis was essential to human survival and the cannabis plant co-evolved with humans as much as Canis familiaris, the domesticated dog.

      It should never have been made “illegal” and should not be today.

      Prohibition is a sham, an unjust law with no justification. Drug dealers love it. Corrupt and intellectually dishonest politicians and lobbyists and “drug police” and industry all owe their livelihoods to an unjust law created by Hitler, I mean Stalin, no wait I mean Nixon, and his attorney general. They decided for everyone. Yep. Create prohibition which in turn directly creates organized crime and drug dealers, and so more red-tape blood-sucking bureaucracy is created to chase the organized crime that the. stupid. prohibition. directly. creates. Cat and mouse. Flushing billions down the toilet and getting no results in return. That’s why it’s called a “failed drug war” and law-talking people who are elected officials manage to keep the lie going. The business of career politicians is lying for self enrichment and changing the laws to suit themselves when they leave office and go back to court.

    32. smokinplenty says:

      Where is the victim when I decide to burn one after a hard day of work? CANNABIS USE IS MY CIVIL LIBERTY!!! Sadly in many states the police will still blow your brains out over cannabis use, and they’ll do it with a smile on their face whole-heartedly believing they are protecting someone or something then make up any line of bullshit to justify it. Police are NOTHING but fully-armed adrenaline junkies and I’ve never known one to actually help anyone! The U.S. is at war with its citizens and will kill us all to maintain the profits within the monopoly of human suffering.

    33. Kenneth says:

      Its perfectly fine to drink yourself to death, smoke 4 packs of cigarettes a day, have a plant that yields free thought, peace, and helps millions cope with deaseses are just to gather with friends and relax after a hard day work. GOVERMENT IS POLLUTED WITH LIES OLD MEN AND WOMEN GREEDY WALLSTREET FUKS .. Making our decisions for us tell us what we can and can’t do. Cannabis makes way to much money for these assholes by keeping it illegal just so you and I have to pay for lawyers, fines, retarded prison sentences that ruin lives , families and your pride, CANNABIS SHOULD BE LEAGALIZED EVERYONE LET’S TAKE A STAND AND DO THIS THE FUCKING DECLRATION OF INDEPINDENCE IS WRITTEN ON HEMP PAPER. REFER MADNESS WELL IM SICK OF IT I LIVE IN LOUISIANA WHERE THE CANNABIS LAWS ARE UN REAL. MIGHT AS WELL KILL SOMEONE THAN GROW A PLANT THAT COULD BRING PEACE AND UNITY TO THE WORLD. Sorry it’s just so retarded the ignorance the price we pay i thought this I land of the free. Ohh yea they can’t tax a God given plant once you know how to grow wonder if that has anything to do with it.. Plant your seeds America we will overthrow these out dated laws take a STAND

    34. [...] NORML, check out this new data from an Angus Reid Public Opinion [...]

    35. Jason Walker says:

      Two thumbs up last comment. I live in Texas wich is probally as bad and ignorant as Louisana. Johnny Appleseed needs to walk across our country again. The only way to keep or regain our rights is through sacrifice. We need to come together and pick a day, time, event in wich the millions of us who want our god given rights, light up. Force the government to arrest millions of Americans in front of the rest of the country. See how American industry slows to a crawl. Make these rich few pay out of their pocket, watch how fast it becomes legal.(this is for the rich old, rightous farts, Even if you are going to keep pot illegal, please stop telling me that using pot is funding terrorist, or killing our kids, or any of the stupid commercials you use to brain wash. The only violence Ive witnessed with pot users is the police officers beating these Americans down. Again Two Thumbs on last message-we must be ready to make sacrifices to beat these elite few at their own game.

    36. ohnojoe says:

      Federal law is putting an innocent 20year old individual into prision for 5-10years. Honestly dont know if i’ll make it by no means am I cut out for prision. My entire life i have stayed out of trouble, been academically above average, worked like a slave 50+ hours a week. Finally something was starting to work for me i was literally helping people from all ages 21 to individuals in there 60?s and 70?s, and in return they were helping some one who had nothing. I never lived lavished or abused anything. Finally life was getting better for me and my best friend(who both parents passed away at a very young age, leaving him with no family and/or life). I was able to rent a very small meager home for us an our animals 1 dog and 3 cats, feed all of us(which at one point was a serious delima living in america going to sleep starving at 18,19,20 years old…great), i was able to provide transportation to get my friend and I to work,every penny went to a positive place. Life was looking up we were finally expierencing a somewhat normal life for indivuals of our age and demographic. For the first time in years my anxiety was going down and i was becoming happy, but as of right now im looking at 5-10 years in state prision because of marijuana. My life for right now is absolutely destroyed. My friend who has no one and suffers from mental illness soon will have no home and will be hungry because $8.00 an hour is not anywhere near substantial to survive in New Jersey totally on your own, our animals will have to go to someone who can afford them which breaks my heart, and all the families i have been helping are all out luck… Personally I have totally broken down and I am deadly afraid of the future. I have absolutetly nothing with a grim future instore. I have worked as a sucessful mechanic since the age of 16 but now due to my charges and liscence I will never be able to work in a legitimate garage. Thanks uncle Sam……

    37. Phil says:

      I’m 60 years old, 45 years after first smoking pot and discovery all the benefits…and yet where I live in Florida, I can’t even buy it because I don’t have any criminal associations. I could grow a personal supply for next to nothing, but the same assholes who have controlled the laws are still very much in control. Very pathetic state of reality for 2012. I’m ready to move to a marijuana friendly location, but not too much snow please…I’ve only seen reals snow once, at a ski resort.

    38. Darryl says:

      Hi my name is Darryl Kleinke. Recently I was sentenced to six months in jail and three years probation for driving under the influence of marijuana.
      I have three other DUI’s for alcohol, but never before for marijuana. My first DUI was in 1993, second in 2000 and third in 2007. My thc level was .04ml and from what
      I have been hearing that is such an absurdly low amount, because I barely smoked marijuana at the time and not the day of the arrest at all. I was in school, in Madison and I had a witness
      from my class that was willing to testify on my behalf that I had not smoked at all during school which was a five hour long class. Which was where I left from before being pulled over for speeding.
      I feel like I have been taken big time for a ride to hell.I had the right to appeal my sentence which I was sentenced May 18th 2012. It said I had twenty days to appeal but my public defender was leaving that day for four months for some reason he did not say. I just feel like I am being taken for a fool. I am not a bad person. I have a job, just graduated college and have a wife and three kids. I
      am just a man working to live and for having smoked barely any marijuana and not even on the day of my arrest nor have I smoked since October 4th of 2011 I just want someone to tell me I have a chance to change something. The jail is an hour from my home as well as the probation office. I obviously lost my occupational, which is another thing I worked on getting before my sentencing, and my public defender told me not to say anything at the courthouse because, unknown to me I wasn’t supposed to get it without the courts permission, but I asked my public defender if I could well before my court date and he said I could. I have been tying for a transfer to my county (Washington) from Dodge where it took place but am having trouble. I can’t afford to lose my job. I was hoping you could help me or knew someone that could since my public defender has left me hanging with no answers and I am running out of time.

    39. Bob says:

      OK folks its time to make a stand.

      The only thing that can get things done is money and votes. Most of us have voting rights, some have money. Email this message to your elected officials and stand firm. Also send to like minded friends and family:

      To the President, Members of the US Congress, State and local elected officials:

      Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965 with over 800,000 arrests in 2010. The problem is getting worse – not because of the benign plant, but because of the obsolete laws. The time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.

      I can no longer vote for elected officials that support the the current laws. I have decided not to vote for any politician that does not publicly support the removal of all penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts.

      Signed

      Voting Citizen
      & Member of the Movement

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