Founder’s Blog: Majority Support

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel June 3, 2014

    I am sometimes amazed at the ability of some legalization activists – especially the true believers who want to hold out for full legalization until they can pass a law with no limits on the amount of marijuana an adult can grow or possess, and no limits on who can sell marijuana to whom – to listen to each other and to convince themselves what they are hearing is a reflection of public opinion in this country. This ‘tomato model’, as it is sometimes called, has little appeal beyond those of us who smoke.

    Those of us who support marijuana legalization have been thrilled to see the many national polls showing a majority of the country finally support the full legalization of marijuana. According to the Gallup polling organization, 58% of the population now support the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana for adults, regardless of why one smokes. The support for legalization, at only 12% when Gallup first asked this question in 1969, the year before NORML was founded, has slowly gained acceptance – with a modest decline in support between 1977 to 1990, followed by a steady increase that finally broke the 50% mark about three years ago. Several other national polls have since confirmed this result.

    However, only about 14% of the country are marijuana smokers – 86% are not. The continued support of a majority of those non-smokers is crucial if we are to continue to move full legalization forward across the country.

    (Read the full story on Marijuana.com)

    38 responses to “Founder’s Blog: Majority Support”

    1. Six says:

      This is problematic indeed; should we ever see legalization in full it is likely going to lead to repeal or a controlled circumstance (No growing, limited possession, limits to where and when you can smoke.Who you can sell it to, as referenced by the blog itself) If more people don’t smoke than smoke, opinion can yet be swayed again. Their support now is nice and I’m appreciative of it too; but look what happened to smoking cigarettes. I’m not a big fan but I believe they should still be allowed to smoke. In some places you can’t smoke anywhere but outside. The nonsmokers clearly have a say in what the smokers do because they outnumber them. A future we might see? I think so.

      I say this not because I want to be a downer.
      Gotta see reality the way it is man.
      As heavy as that may seem.

    2. John says:

      I think that you guys would be surprised to know that a lot of people see this not just as states rights issue but a personal rights issue, so for all those so worried about the kids, they are more worried that they could be arrested for some technicality like what California and Montana endured. With all the regulations such as the unscientific DUI limits that got shot down in California recently but still plagues other states, they don’t want virtually any laws. I for one can’t smoke because of my job but if I were able to, I wouldn’t want virtually any laws, just treat the plant like any other vegetable. The only laws we need are protections against registries so that my job can’t find out I use whether it’s for medical or recreational and so on.

    3. YearofAction says:

      There is a straightforward way to get the mainstream to support cannabis and control marijuana.

      Part 1. (de-schedule cannabis)
      Get rid of the confusing definition of marihuana by urging the people to advocate to their politicians for this simple definition of marijuana which actually shows respect for our Constitution:

      The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L.

      Part 2. (re-schedule marijuana)
      Urge the people to advocate to their politicians to permit the scientists to study un-smoked cannabis vs. smoked cannabis.

      Part 3. (education)
      Urge the people to advocate in their States to experience the economic and medical benefits of cannabis vs. marijuana.

      This year will be a great time to take these actions.

    4. Dave Evans says:

      I support the “tomato model”. However, I also see a need for guide lines and age restrictions.

      But I see much larger need for research so we can indeed make good decisions and thus policy regarding marijuana. The current policy model is the government and police are crackers when is comes to marijuana. They arrest, beat and kill you for no reason other than they have been told they are better than us. The current model is ignorance, enemy making and public endangerment. Why do they want such an adversarial relationship?

    5. Fed-Up says:

      This raises more questions when only %14 percent of the American population are considered “Marijuana smokers”. You mean Daily smokers? Weekly smokers?Monthly smokers? People that have smoked in the last decade or two? Im sure that there are differences of percentages and subdivisions for each of these categories.

      I think the main reason that support of cannabis legalization has gone to the %58 point,is that the 60 to 70 year old demographic of the population, some who where part of the hippie and the flower child movements of the 60s and early 70s(and the generations after that.) Had exposure to cannabis,or knew somebody that did.

      So it is more difficult, for them, to be hypnotized and brainwashed by the media,and seduced by ’emotion driven hysteria- for the “drug war”,like it was for earlier generations during the Reagan and Bush years.

    6. Miles says:

      What an excellent article Mr. Stroup! Note that this well written article was written by a long term marijuana smoker! Proof, as if we needed any more, that marijuana does not cause one to go crazy.

      I believe that the main reason support for legalization was only 12% in 1969 is because at that time so many people believed the lies our Govt spewed about marijuana. Since then, most of us (the most highly educated) have come to realize this and have adjusted our reasoning accordingly. I hope more of our politicians will do likewise in the near future. Quite a few still seem to cling to the lies of the 1930s.

      One more thing I’d like to mention is about Michelle Leonhart. How is it that this sorry excuse for a human being still has a job? She should be in prison for all the harm she has done to our nation in my humble opinion; let alone continue to hold a highly paid position of power!

    7. Bob Constantine says:

      Using marijuana is NOT a new right as Keith describes. It’s a right that people have ALWAYS had. It’s simply been grossly violated for the last 80 years or so.

      Rights don’t come from a coercive government, granted “permission” however does.

      Free people do not need or require permission from others to own themself.

      I appreciate and acknowledge the hard work of Norml and Keith, but accepting a permission based law as the final answer abets the idea that other people can “own” you. This is wrong.

      [Editor’s note: Keith Stroup’s overall point is that cannabis use is not a ‘right’ in any traditional sense of the word, and that is why consumers have to be ever vigilant against government tyranny re cannabis policy.

      Yours is more a libertarian argument, one that neither NORML or Stroup are attempting to make.]

    8. Ray says:

      @ Keith – do you realize that your work may just have saved Maureen Dowd’s life?

      If this drug were alcohol, heroin, codeine, or possibly sugar she could have died. But thanks to NORML and sensible politicians we now see pot as the drug with a built in fail safe.

      14% is not a majority and if you never need it then don’t use it. But some of us don’t want the threat of death as a side effect to our medicine.

    9. Elaine says:

      Thank you NORML for your continued efforts to stop the insanity!

      Mr. Stroup, you are a great American! I wish I could say the same about our political leaders but a lot of them are more like greedy little kids who kick and scream if they don’t get their way…

    10. Dave Evans says:

      In fact, it is exactly this adversarial relationship that is killing public support for the War on Drugs. When the police act like shitheads, they loose public support, it is that simple. The public sees innocent people being arrested and they/we are really getting tired of the “Cracker Bullshit as Policy” model.