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  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 31, 2016

    no_marijuanaChanges in marijuana’s legal status under state law is not associated with increased cannabis use or with its perceived availability by young people, according to pair of recently published studies.

    In the first study, published online in the journal Substance Use & Misuse, researchers at Columbia University in New York surveyed the marijuana use habits of a national sampling of 1,310 adolescents between the years 2013 and 2015. Investigators assessed whether respondents from states with liberalized cannabis policies were more likely to acknowledge having consumed cannabis compared to those residing in jurisdictions where the substance remains criminally prohibited.

    Authors reported that the study’s findings “failed to show a relationship between adolescents’ use of marijuana and state laws regarding marijuana use.” … [They] suggest that eased sanctions on adult marijuana use are not associated with higher prevalence rates of marijuana use among adolescents.”

    In the second study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a team of investigators from Columbia University, the University of California at Davis, and Boston University examined the relationship between medical cannabis laws and the prevalence of marijuana availability and use by both adolescents and by those age 26 or older. Authors reported no changes over a nine-year period (2004 to 2013) with regard to the past-month prevalence of marijuana use by those ages 12 to 17 or by those between the ages of 18 and 25. Those age 25 and younger also experienced no change in their perception of marijuana’s availability. By contrast, self-reported marijuana use and availability increased among adults age 26 or older over this same time period.

    The conclusions are similar to those of numerous separate studies reporting that changes in marijuana’s legal status are not associated with any uptick in teens’ use of the substance, such as those here, here, here, and here.

    Abstracts of the two studies, “Is the Legalization of Marijuana Associated With Its Use by Adolescents?” and “State-level medical marijuana laws, marijuana use and perceived availability of marijuana among the general U.S. population,” appear online here and here.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 26, 2016

    legalization_pollSixty-three percent of Americans age 18 and older favor making the use of marijuana legal, according to national polling results compiled by the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey.

    The percentage is the highest ever reported by the poll, and marks a 30 percent increase in public support for legalization since 2014.

    The poll possesses a margin or error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

    The results come only days after separate surveys released by the Pew Research Center and by Gallup also reported that Americans’ support for legalizing marijuana is at an all-time high.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 19, 2016

    Legalize marijuanaSixty percent of Americans believe that “the use of marijuana should be legal,” according to nationwide polling data released today by Gallup. The percentage is the highest level of support ever reported by the polling group, and represents more than a doubling in public support over the past two decades.

    The data closely follows the release of polling data compiled by the Pew Research Center showing a similar, dramatic shift in public opinion in favor of legalization.

    Those ages 18 to 34 (77 percent), Independents (70 percent), and Democrats (67 percent) were most likely to endorse legalization in the Gallup poll. Support was weakest among Republicans (42 percent) and those age 55 or older (45 percent).

    The poll possesses a margin of error of +/- four percentage points.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 18, 2016

    ballot_box_leafAmericans who use cannabis or hold favorable views toward the plant tend to identify themselves politically as Independent rather than as a Democrat or a Republican, according to the results of a Cannalytics consumer research survey published today.

    Among respondents, 46 percent defined themselves as Independent. Of this group, over 90 percent consider marijuana policy reform to be among the most important election issues, and more than 75 percent said that they are more motivated to vote this election because of pending cannabis-specific ballot measures.

    Voters in nine states will decide on Election Day in favor of statewide ballot measures seeking to legalize either the medical use or the adult use of marijuana.

    Cannalytics and its partners, including NORML, provided a 51-point questionnaire to over 5,800 respondents to gauge their opinions on cannabis policy, as well as their own marijuana use. Respondents typically were well educated, most did not smoke tobacco, and 53 percent suggested that they would consume less alcohol if cannabis were legally regulated for adults.

    Full results of the 2016 Cannabis Voter Report are available online at: http://www.cannalytics.us/.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 12, 2016

    Legalize marijuanaNearly six in ten Americans now believe that marijuana use ought to be legal and only about one in three favor continuing to criminalize the plant, according to nationwide survey data published today by the Pew Research Center.

    Fifty-seven percent of respondents say “The use of marijuana should be made legal,” the highest percentage of Americans ever to answer the question affirmatively in a Pew poll. Only 37 percent of respondents disagree with legalization.

    The percentages mark a dramatic shift in public opinion over the past decade. In 2006, only 32 percent of Pew survey respondents favored legalization, while 60 percent opposed the idea. Much of this change is a result of shifting opinions among Millennials (those ages 18 to 35). While only 34 percent of Millennials favored legalizing marijuana in 2006, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of younger Americans support this policy change today.

    Democrats (66 percent), Independents (63 percent), and men (60 percent) were also among those most likely to endorse legalization. Support was lowest among those respondents over 71 years of age (33 percent) and Republicans (41 percent).

    The survey possesses a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

    Separate nationwide surveys conducted by Gallup, CBS, and Morning Consult, among others, show similar levels of support for marijuana legalization among voters.

    Voters in five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada — will be deciding on initiatives to legalize and regulate the adult use and retail sale of cannabis on Election Day.

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