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Public Policy

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director May 28, 2013

    Update: Watch the very interesting panel discussion—where the major take away point from the data and interpretation of it is that it unlikely that the country will return to a time when a majority of Americans support cannabis prohibition law enforcement.

    Watch video here.

    Also and maybe of far greater significance is the white paper by Brookings scholars William Galston and E.J. Dionne, Jr., The New Politics of Marijuana Legalization: Why Opinion is Changing’. It is an extraordinarily well researched and data-rich paper that well demonstrates a very large, and apparently sustainable shift in public attitude about cannabis, moving from one of great intolerance twenty-five years ago to one of seeking alternative public policies to prohibition, such as decriminalization and legalization.

    I highly commend any one serious-minded about cannabis law reform to read and archive the paper.

    Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 29 from 2:00-3:30 PM (eastern), the Brookings Institute is holding its second in a series of public policy review panels examining the ever-evolving changes of cannabis laws—mainly at the state level, with little-to-no federal reforms—where state legislatures and/or voters have voted to replace prohibition laws with decriminalization, medical access to cannabis or outright legalization.

    The first panel discussion in April co-sposored by Washington Office on Latin America and Brookings examined the stark changes in state law and if current federal laws allow states to in effect experiment with cannabis legalization. See Brookings white paper on state and federal conflict here.

    This second panel in the series looks at the emerging public polling data, along with vote totals in states with binding initiatives, which strongly indicate a profound shift in public attitude about cannabis in favor of it’s reform and what are the political implication for federal lawmakers.

    At no time in previous history is there greater public and political support for legalization than right now. This public policy series at Brookings reflects the need to cast sober and dispassionate policy analysis, coupled with acknowledgement of change in public sentiment, in the fast changing public policy  realm that elected policy makers and their staff; media and academics need to be made fully aware as the country apparently morphs from seventy-five years of cannabis prohibition, to one of ‘tax-n-control’.

    If you can’t attend in person, Brookings and WOLA are making this important public panel discussion on cannabis legalization available via webcast.

    From Brookings’ press release:

    Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana, and they may not be the last: legalization now has the support of about half the country, up from 25 percent two decades ago. But legalization remains controversial among the public and contrary to federal law and policy. Is a new national consensus emerging, or a new stage of the culture war? Either way, what are the implications?

    On May 29, Governance Studies at Brookings and the Washington Office on Latin America will host a public forum to discuss changing attitudes towards marijuana legalization. Brookings Senior Fellows William Galston and E.J. Dionne will present findings of a detailed study of evidence from opinion surveys, some of it newly available. Two experts on politics and public opinion will comment. After the program, speakers will take audience questions.

    Panelists include: Senior Fellows at Brookings William Galston and E.J. Dionne, Jr.,; Pollster Anna Greenberg and RealClear Politics Sean Trend

    Moderated by Senior Fellow at Brookings Jonathan Rauch

    This event will be live webcast.

    Register here for the live webcast.

    Register here to attend the event in person.

    Follow the conversation at #MJLegalization.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director January 16, 2013

    Polling data released this week by Public Policy Polling shows a large base of support for marijuana law reforms in New Hampshire. Not only is there majority support from New Hampshire voters for the medical use of marijuana and decriminalizing its possession, but more than half support regulating and taxing marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

    When asked if they would support or oppose changing New Hampshire law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, where stores would be licensed to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older, 53% responded they would support this law and only 37% were opposed.

    62% stated that they would support a change in the law to provide for a fine of up to $100 without jail time or the threat of arrest for those who possess an ounce or less of marijuana and 68% support allowing for its physician supervised use. Even more enlightening, 52% stated an elected official’s support of medical marijuana made them more likely to support them.

    Fortunately for New Hampshire lawmakers, they have the opportunity to capitalize on this groundswell of support for sensible marijuana laws. Legislation has already been introduced to decriminalize the possession of marijuana and a separate measure has been introduced to allow patients to use marijuana for medical purposes. The incoming governor has even voiced her support for legalizing medical use.

    If you live in New Hampshire, you can use NORML’s Take Action to easily contact your elected officials in support of these measures. Click here to view our alert for decriminalization and here for medical use.

    You can view the full polling data here.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director February 25, 2012

    A new survey of likely Washington state voters by Public Policy Polling shows 47% percent support I-502, an initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Only 39% of respondents were opposed and 15% remained undecided.

    New Approach Washington, the group backing the initiative, turned in about 278,000 valid signatures at the end of January, a little over 20,000 more than required to qualify for the ballot. Since the legislature has declined action on the initiative, it will almost certainly go before voters in Washington this November.

    For more information and updates on I-502, visit New Approach Washington’s website here.

    You can view the full poll from PPP by clicking here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director May 27, 2011

    85% of Grandparent Respondents Favor Marijuana Legalization, According to GRAND Magazine Reader Poll

    Online Magazine for Grandparents Releases Response Results to Op-Ed Question Posed in its March/April Issue

    St. Petersburg, FL. (PRWEB) May 26, 2011

    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 reader respondents who are pot proponents argued in their responses 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.

    Grandparents who are part of the baby boomer generation (those born from 1946 to 1964)(1) 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 significant influence on the country’s youth as they are the primary caregivers for more than 6 million children(2). In fact, approximately 75 percent of all non-parental care of children is provided by a grandparent(3), 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. (more…)