Titusville, FL: Fewer than one in two police chiefs believe that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes, according to the results of a survey conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
Sixty percent of respondents answered "no" to the question: "Should marijuana be legalized in the United States for those who have a legitimate medical need for the drug?" The result sharply contrasts with national public opinion polls, which demonstrate that 80 percent of Americans believe that it should be legal to dispense medical cannabis to qualified patients.
"It is a shame that law enforcement continue to hold seriously ill patients hostage in the war on drugs," NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. "Equally troubling is the fact that law enforcement's views on drug policy are completely out-of-step with the opinions of the American public."
More than 22,000 chiefs of police and sheriffs were polled for the survey.
In other results, nearly 70 percent of respondents agreed that decriminalizing "soft drugs" like marijuana "would allow more resources for violent and property crime management."
Eighty-two percent said that the drug war has been "successful in reducing the use of illegal drugs." This finding also contrasts with previous public opinion polls, including a 2001 Pew Research Center poll that found three out of four respondents believe America is losing the war on drugs.
For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500. Full results of the Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs 16th Annual survey are available online at: