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  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 6, 2014

    Fifty-five percent of Americans favor making cannabis legal for adults, according to the findings of a CNN/ORC International survey released late Monday. The percentage is the highest ever reported by the survey, which has been tracking public opinion on the issue since 1973, and marks a 12 percentage point jump in support since the last time pollsters posed the question in 2012.

    In addition, only 35 percent of those polled responded that consuming cannabis was “morally wrong” — down from 70 percent in 1987, the last time pollsters posed the question.

    The CNN/ORC polled surveyed 1,010 Americans and possesses a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

    The survey’s findings are similar to those of a fall 2013 Gallup poll which reported nationwide support for legalizing marijuana at 58 percent, the highest level of support ever recorded in a national scientific poll.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 26, 2013

    #1 Public Support For Legalizing Marijuana Hits Historic Highs
    An unprecedented 58 percent of Americans believe that marijuana ought to be “made legal” for adult consumption, according to survey data reported in October by Gallup. The percentage is the highest level of support ever recorded by Gallup, which has been inquiring on the issue since 1969, and marks a ten percent increase in voter approval since 2012. Regional polls conducted this year in several states, including California, Louisiana, and Texas, also reported majority support for legalization.

    #2 Nation Of Uruguay Passes Legislation Regulating Cannabis Use
    Lawmakers in the South American nation of Uruguay enacted legislation authorizing the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis to all citizens age 18 and older. Residents will be able to legally purchase up to 40 grams of cannabis per month from state-licensed stores at a price of $1 per gram. Uruguay is the first country in modern history to officially legalize and regulate the licensed production and retail sale of cannabis.

    #3 Feds Pledge Not To Interfere In State-Licensed Retail Sales Of Cannabis
    Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a three-page memorandum in August affirming that the US Justice Department will allow Colorado and Washington to move forward with statewide efforts to license and regulate the adult marijuana market. Cole later reaffirmed the agency’s position in testimony before the US Senate, stating, “We will not … seek to preempt state ballot initiatives.”

    #4 States Finalize Regulations Governing Adult Cannabis Sales
    Regulators in Colorado and Washington this fall began accepting applications from businesses seeking to engage in the licensed cultivation, production, and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis-infused products. In Washington, several thousand applicants have applied to pot business licenses. In Colorado, regulators have begun approving licenses and several commercial establishments are expected to be open for business on January 1, 2014.

    #5 Record Number Of Statewide Marijuana Reform Measures Enacted Into Law
    Lawmakers in a dozen states approved some 20 pieces of marijuana law reform legislation in 2013. Specifically, lawmakers in Colorado and Vermont enacted legislation licensing commercial hemp production; Illinois and New Hampshire legalized the use and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes; Oregon and Nevada approved regulations allowing for the establishment of medical cannabis distribution facilities; and Oregon and Vermont significantly reduced marijuana possession penalties.

    #6 Cannabis Dispensaries Open In Washington, DC
    Medical cannabis facilities opened for business in Washington, DC in 2013. The establishments are licensed and regulated by the District of Columbia, which finally unveiled its long-awaited medical marijuana program earlier this year. State-authorized dispensaries also opened for the first time this year in New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Lawmakers in four states, Illinois, Oregon, Nevada and New Hampshire, enacted legislation in 2013 allowing for the establishment of medicinal cannabis facilities.

    #7 Study: Blacks Arrested For Pot Offenses At Rates Four Times That Of Whites
    African Americans are far more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession offenses than are whites, according to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report released in June that analyzed arrest data from 945 counties nationwide. The report found that blacks were approximately four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, even though both ethnicities consumed the substance at similar rates. Authors reported that the racial disparity in arrest rates had grown significantly over the past decade and that in some states African Americans were nearly eight times as likely as whites to be arrested for cannabis possession.

    #8 FDA Approves Clinical Trials Of CBD In Cases Of Pediatric Epilepsy
    The US Food and Drug Administration this fall granted approval for the importation of cannabidiol (CBD) extracts as an experimental treatment for a rare, intractable form of pediatric epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome. Preliminary clinical trials assessing the safety and tolerability of the compound in children are scheduled to begin in early 2014. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has been documented to possess a variety of therapeutic qualities, including anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-epileptic, anti-cancer, and bone-stimulating properties.

    #9 Study: No Association Between Cannabis Smoking And Lung Cancer
    Subjects who regularly inhale cannabis smoke possess no greater risk of lung cancer than do those who consume it occasionally or not at all, according to data presented in May at the annual meeting of the American Academy for Cancer Research. UCLA investigators analyzed data from six case-control studies, conducted between 1999 and 2012, involving over 5,000 subjects (2,159 cases and 2,985 controls). They reported, “Our pooled results showed no significant association between the intensity, duration, or cumulative consumption of cannabis smoke and the risk of lung cancer overall or in never smokers.”

    #10 Members Of Congress Introduce Legislation To End Federal Pot Prohibition
    Members of Congress in February introduced historic legislation, HR 499: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, to remove cannabis from the control of the Drug Enforcement Administration and authorize the US Department of Treasury to license state-authorized retail marijuana producers and distributors. Although Congress refused to vote on the measure in 2013, it was the most-viewed legislation on the Congress.gov website.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 9, 2013

    A majority of Indiana residents believe that marijuana should be legally regulated like alcohol and nearly 80 percent of Hoosiers support taxing it, according to recently released statewide polling data released by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University.

    Fifty-two percent of respondents said that cannabis “should be regulated like alcohol.” Forty-five percent of respondents opposed legalization. Among self-identified Democrats, 64 percent of respondents backed regulation. Forty-nine percent of self-identified Republicans did so.

    Hoosiers support for taxing cannabis was even stronger. Seventy-eight percent of respondents, including strong majorities of both major political parties, answered ‘yes’ to the question, “Should we tax marijuana like alcohol/cigarettes?” Only 19 percent of respondents opposed the idea.

    Under present state law, first-time marijuana possession offenses of under 30 grams are punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Subsequent offenses are classified as felonies, punishable by up to 3 years incarceration.

    Six hundred randomly selected Indiana residents participated in the survey, which has a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.

    The Indiana poll is the latest to show growing support for marijuana law reform among so-called ‘Red State’ voters. Recent statewide surveys in Arizona, Louisiana, and Texas have similarly shown majority support for legalization.

    According to an October 2013 nationwide Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal, an all-time high.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director October 22, 2013

    Gallup released new polling data today that shows an overwhelming majority of Americans want marijuana to be legalized. According to their survey, 58% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, while only 39% are opposed. This is up significantly from the last time Gallup polled the question in 2012, when only 48% of Americans were in favor and 50% were opposed. For historical perspective, the first time they surveyed this question in 1969 a paltry 12% of Americans were in favor of legalization.

    The support for marijuana legalization has seen unprecedented momentum in the past several years. Gallup observes, “Whatever the reasons for Americans’ greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States. Advocates of legalizing marijuana say taxing and regulating the drug could be financially beneficial to states and municipalities nationwide.”

    “The American people have opened their eyes to the failure that is marijuana prohibition and there is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Following the successful passage of marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington in 2012, the people of this country see that a new approach to marijuana policy is both required and possible,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “The majority of Americans now agree that it is time to legalize and regulate. The issue can no longer be ignored or sidelined. Legalization is now the mainstream position and supporters of perpetuating our war on marijuana will continue to be further relegated to the fringe.”

    The strongest support was coming from those ages 18-29 (67%), ages 30-49 (62%), Democrats (65%), and Independents (62%). The only major demographic groups lacking majority support are those 65+ (45%) and Republicans (35%).

    Full poll results can be viewed here.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director August 5, 2013

    According to polling data released this week by Gallup, 38% of Americans admit to having smoked marijuana in their lives. This rate remains relatively unchanged from Gallup’s previous surveys on this question. 34% responded in the affirmative when asked in 1999 and 33% in 1985.

    What is significant about this data is that, while total use had risen very slightly, use among 18-29 year olds has fallen 20% since 1985. In 1985, 56% of 18-29 year olds admitted to having tried marijuana, which dropped to 46% in 1999 and is now down to 36%. This decrease has occurred while twenty states approved medical marijuana legislation, sixteen states have decriminalized possession, and two states have fully legalized marijuana. The threats of skyrocketing young adult use seem incredibly unfounded when it appears the current trajectory towards marijuana legalization has had the opposite effect.

    Gallup found use rates among 50 to 64 year olds has gone from 9% in 1985 to 44% today. These findings seem to show that as those who came of age in the 1960′s and 70′s get older they are continuing or returning to their cannabis use.

    You can view the full survey here.

    A 2011 Gallup poll found that a record high of 50% of Americans support legalizing marijuana.

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