CBS News Poll confirms troubling data for legalization and medical marijuana proponents

[Update: Yes, I meant “proponents”, not “opponents”.  An 11-point gender gap and 52% believing medical marijuana is not for the severely ill, but for “something else” should trouble proponents of legalization. -“R”R]
The latest poll to ask the American people their opinions on medical marijuana and marijuana legalization reveals some disturbing trends for opponents of marijuana prohibition.

21st Century Legalization Polls
21st Century Legalization Polls by major news and polling organizations (click for full size version)

According a recent CBS News poll conducted at the end of October, a slim majority of 51 percent continues to think that marijuana use should be illegal. But support for specifically allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for serious medical conditions – or legalized “medical” marijuana – is far stronger: 77 percent Americans think it should be allowed.

CBS’s poll compares well to the bulk of polls on the issue over the past two years, which have ranged from 40% to 46% support for full-legalization.  It’s interesting to note that no news organization has ever shown a poll with majority support for full-legalization; the five polls showing 50% or greater support all come from Zogby, Angus Reid, and Gallup.

Still, even though most Americans support this, just three in 10 believe that the marijuana currently being bought in this country under state-authorized medical marijuana programs is being used in the way it has been authorized: for alleviating suffering from serious medical conditions.

In previous posts we’ve noted the gap between medical-only and full-legalization has shrunk from 44% to 20% in the Gallup Polls.  This CBS poll shows 77% nationwide for “Do you think doctors should be allowed to prescribe small amounts of marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses?” but also shows only 31% of the country believes “marijuana that is purchased in this country through state authorized medical marijuana programs is being used to alleviate suffering from serious medical illnesses”.  Majorities of Republicans (62%) and Independents (51%) and a plurality of Democrats (44%) believe “most of it is being used for other reasons”.
As usual, people between the age of 18-29 support legalization (52%) as do liberals (66%).  Greatest support geographically is again found in the West (48%).  But surprisingly, the Midwest (43%) beats the Northeast (41%) in support and Independents (48%) have greater support for legalization than Democrats (45%).  Also as usual, and still vexing for legalization proponents, is the gender gap of 11 points between men (46%) and women (35%).

84 thoughts

  1. ALL I KNO IS… IT HAS BEEN 6 YR’S SINCE MY CONVICTION OF FELONY MANUFACTURING AND 6 YR’S SINCE I HAVE HAD A JOB TOO..IT’S A DAMN SHAME I HAVE NOT HAD A DMV TICKET IN 17 YR’S OR ANY KIND OF CRIMINAL RECORD IN MY LIFE AND IM SCREWED DUE TO 24 3 INCH TALL PLANTS THAT WERE MINE..SCREWED FOR LIFE THAT IS..!!!!!!!! SO THEY LEAVE U WITH NO CHOICE BUT TO LIVE A TYPE OF CRIMINAL LIFE JUST TO LIVE AND FEED OUR FAMILY I HAVE BEEN KICKED PLUM OUT THE JOB MARKET 4 EVER…

  2. Cool story: my wife asked our doctor about using marijuana for a condition she has. The doctor fully supported her even though our state doesn’t allow it for medical purposes. Then went OFF on his intern for attempting to put it in her record. DOCTORS are with marijuana… it’s just cops and politicians who are not.
    Further- there are SO many issues with medical cannabis. For example “serious” conditions– most people think just means cancer, aids etc, but what ABOUT for those with long term crippling pain who don’t want an opiate addiction? That definitely qualifies… then they call it a backdoor plan for legalization. Even if legalization IS the end goal… getting it to the sick FIRST seems not just wise but compassionate.

  3. The reasons most people think this way is because we foolishly try to mix marijuana culture with actual medicine. People aren’t stupid. Nobody is going to view it as a serious medicine as long we keep using names like “Green Crack”

  4. @51 GROWING2SURVIVE: Stories like yours are the primary reason that I am an activist. You and others like you are victims in the truest sense of the word! I’ve never been busted and could probably live the rest of my life without ever getting busted since I’m very careful. I speak out in this forum and many others because marijuana prohibition is a crime against human nature. There is no good reason for it and our Govt knows it regardless of the rhetoric they issue. Millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens have been locked up and locked out of living up to their full potential by the idiocy of our justice system. We all need to make everyone everywhere aware of exactly what harm prohibition is causing not only those that get busted but the harm done to all of humanity!

  5. Absolutely correct, Johnny Snow . I’ve said this a number of times . Green crack does not sound like medicine and how ‘ bout, Train wreck ? Sure would make any naive or not so naive person think it drives you to havoc on the Road .” White Rhino “…….anything that BIG is sure to kill you then of course we have AK47 . Sounds like it’s associated with the Mafia, drug violence & murders . Let’s not forget,Chemdog OG . Sounds like its spiked . The list goes on……….

  6. The truth is, it’s nobody’s business but your own what you grow in your backyard and choose to do with your personal time.

  7. Marijuana will never be legalized, it’s already been tried before!
    Illegality creates too many high paying jobs and marijuana would allow people to see things differently, breaking the status quo.
    This debate will go on until our rulers find a way to alleviate the marijuana debate once and for all through propaganda, mind control and outright fear.
    You will never have the option, your leaders have stated their piece and made it perfectly clear.
    You are not to cross the bounds set before you, do it and you will be severely punished for your behavior!

  8. Re TheOracle, #6 & #47,
    I have noticed the changes in Europe too. Netherlands to stop selling to foreigners in the southern part of the country, starting in January; then Amsterdam to stop selling to foreigners in 2013. That totally blows.
    However, as you noted, things are going the other direction in Denmark: the Copenhagen city council voted 39-9 to legally sell MJ in “safe houses”–still needs to be passed by the Danish parliament.
    Also, Switzerland to allow individuals to grow 4 plants legally, in four Swiss provinces, beginning in January! (Hey, Prop 19 back-stabbers–that have a ring of familiarity?)
    And CBS’ polling? I just don’t trust the MSM–they’re the ones who helped Bush & his neo-con handlers push us into invading Iraq with 24/7 “terrorist” propaganda. (Gee, I haven’t seen a color-coded alert on the news since Bush left office.)
    Seems like every poll I remember had more Dems supporting legalization than Indies–except this one. Then we’re told that 77% believe doctors should be allowed to prescribe MMJ, but that only 31% believe MMJ is being used to alleviate pain. Huh? Something very strange about those numbers, and a few others.
    A big hello to Amer. Gen. #45–sorry, but Cain still ain’t my man!

  9. The names of different varieties that have violent connotations are no good reason to keep marijuana illegal. With alcohol, there is Colt 45, Mad Dog 20/20, and a bunch of other catchy names you can see if you walk through a liquor store or the alcohol section of a grocery store.
    The Danish parliament will probably disallow the Christiania plan because of international treaties, UNLESS both the Danish and Dutch and Swiss governments put pressure on Vienna/the U.N. to change international policy, change the wording to allow countries that want to legalize for Harm Reduction reasons to do so. It would be nice if Germany, Spain, Italy, or better yet Germany and/or France would weigh in to apply some heavy weight. Unfortunately, unless a superpower like the U.S. unilaterally decides to legalize outright for recreational purposes for revenue and cost-cutting, the best legalizers can expect out of Vienna is baby steps in the form of legalization on a limited scope that is restricted to legalizing out of reasons of harm reduction. That would mean limited number of coffeeshops/retail outlets by city and state/province.
    Wasting time and materiel on cannabis prohibition is has become a drag on the efficiency of harvesting and mining the resources of your planet. It would have been nice if it could have worked and alcohol prohibition, but the species has an affinity for mind-altering substances to release pressure in lieu of a stretch of days for a natural relaxation and stress recuperation. The preference would be to use nothing, of course, which is an abject failure, so the lesser of two evils, cannabis or alcohol is preferred, that being cannabis by personal choice given the legality of the both of them. Phase down, not out, the number of individuals who choose to use tobacco for quick alertness as a legal choice, as the time of missed production is an interruption in the stream of work.
    Harm reduction is the way to go to minimize the spike in use of cannabis once it is legal as people imbibe in the novelty, then get sick of it or lose interest in it as it is no longer the forbidden fruit. Incidentally, forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.
    The sequestration can take us there, something the supercommittee was afraid to broach.
    Or did the supercommittee at least bring up cannabis decriminalization or legalization or states’ rights to get the Feds out of the cannabis prohibition business of wasting money?
    What are the leaks? Is anything leaking out about the supercommittee or anyone else regarding the revenues?
    What’s the gossip? Make up gossip, have someone deny it, and use it as a discussion starter.

  10. After 75+ years of lies, deceit, and billions of dollars spent by tax-payers to spread the evil weed propaganda, it’s no wonder polls are so diverse, and many people don’t know what is real.
    So here are some humble and true facts I’ve learned are true:
    1) Cannabis has medicinal value. Proof: The Feds own a patent on that.
    2) Cannabis is addictive, like coffee.
    3) Laws against cannabis far exceed any “crime”, and any “crime” far exceeds reality. More people and families are hurt by the laws than the use of the plant. More people die from the laws prohibiting cannabis and it’s use than from responsible use of the plant. 45,000+ in Mexico alone have died to support a myth!
    4) If medicinal use means a risk to one’s health with potential of death from use, then tobacco and alcohol sure are medicinal. That would make cannabis an alternative medicine, one that does not fit the rules required for something to be a drug.
    5) How does a scientist sleep at night when they are hypocritical and bend the science to match the lies? No one want to see alcohol or tobacco outlawed, but the fact is they are both manufactured drugs without any real regulation. Tobacco off the plant cannot be dried and smoked as a cigarette, it must be processed first to remove unpleasurable alkaloids. Alcohol must be manufactured also to be sold in a liquor store. Both fit the status of a substance that is without medical value, highly addictive, and dangerous to use. Yet the “scientist” and most politicians can sleep at night knowing full well how hypocritical they are when they say marijuana is a “dangerous drug”.
    5) If everything we’re told to believe about marijuana were true, a good 50% or more of the population would either be dead now or hopelessly insane. OMG… maybe that’s why Washington is so far removed from reality???
    But wait, I’m not in Washington, so that must mean something else makes politicians insane. I see Pres. Obama likes his beer, and I’ll bet most other politicians drink alcohol too. Cause and Effect? Or do they have their own designer drugs as part of their bonus package?
    6) If anyone in politics believes in God, and Trust in God, they might want to reread Genesis again. God gave us the plants of the Earth, not the pharmaceutical companies, the tobacco and alcohol lobbyists.
    Who here can respect a government based on lies, deceit and oppression???
    Hell, one can’t even peaceably protest the wealthiest 1% – the Big Corps, without getting pepper-sprayed, hit on the head with batons, shot with hard-rubber bullets and hit with cans of tear-gas.
    What country do we live in?

  11. Personally I think the folks who are afraid of legalization are not as naive as we sometime give them credit. Those of us who are/were open and adventurous enough to try marijuana in direct challenge of all the lies and misinformation preached and hammered into our heads our entire childhood. We somehow unnerve these people with this type of thinking, I think it identifies those with an inherent ability to question the perceived authority of the generation that expects faithful allegiance to their model of normal and normalcy (control). I think that kind of thinking scares the pants off of them. Until the generation of narrow minded, influenced and corrupt folks die off and are replaced with those of more logical and compassionate convictions I’m not hopeful the polls will change any faster than they have for the last ten years. And I’m not getting any younger…

  12. Yay Ron Paul just said “End War on Drugs” on CNN border security debate. AND the audience clapped! America I knew you were smarter than those other political celebrities! Let’s get over this tipping point!!!!

  13. Eventually what is going to happen, you will be subjected to very accuratey prescribed drug testing for everything, from employment to drivers liscenses.
    Your leaders will find ways to make it impossible for you to cheat these tests.
    Next, organizations like norml and mpp will be abolished for promoting drug use through newly adopted laws.
    After that a new system of laws will be administered to charge individuals with possession by using testing and the use of drug dogs.
    In Oklahoma it’s already happening.

  14. re: darkcycle Says:
    November 18th, 2011 at 6:22 pm
    Ask the people THIS question : “Do you believe that people should be arrested and given a lifetime criminal record for marijuana?” and see what their poll results say. Polls are subject to error and manipulation, and should always be taken with a large grain of salt.
    —–
    I would pose this question:
    Do you consider America a ‘free society’?
    What percentage of the citizens would you say may be incarcerated for several years, or more, for nothing more than a plant, (where that is there sole offense), where you would still call this a civilized and free society?
    And then I would show them some of the demographics and ratios of our citizens hassled for nothing more than a harmless* plant.
    How many have lost or missed out on jobs for simply a plant?
    How many have missed their children grow simply for a plant?
    How many are behind bars now?
    How many tax dollars are wasted away, and funneled into Mexico, where the REAL DRUG WAR ZONE is?
    Now, is this actually a free society, or are we smoking crack?

  15. I would love to see Marijuana legalized!! However, drug posession charges and drug use at the very least should be decriminalized.
    Does anyone really think it makes sense to lock up pot smokers in jail/prison..? Afterword they have a felony on their record that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
    Portugal was the first country in the world to decriminalize all drugs and they have seen nothing but positive results from this action. You can read a full report done by the Cato institute if you would like. There have also been several magazine articles written about Portugal’s success.

  16. the opening statement of the U.S. constitution says:
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
    How can we possibly say that our government has insured domestic tranquility when AT LEAST 40% of the population is in constant fear that they or someone they love will be arrested for a non-violent offense and held prisoner for up to 20 years?

  17. i am a tea party member and i support the legalization of marijuana because freedom is what this country is founded on. I am so sick of people telling me I have to join a union or I have to buy health care. My life let me live it

  18. Kudos for President Carter. For what its worth I can’t help but concur with his statement about crime and punishment. It troubles me that circumstances compelled him to do the safe thing in other projects without formulating peace in our own country.

  19. Just read of further aggression in the state of Washington. Let us not neglect to thank Bambi’s and Bush’s head witness coach for trampling a most modest exercise of personal freedom. Thanks for nothing! Thanks for nullifying years of pounding pavements at the crack of dawn, by this hack appointee!

  20. I may be mistaken but I think the RMS on MSNBC is on our side. I cannot guarantee that some of the advertisers are.

  21. re: Anonymous Says:
    November 23rd, 2011 at 2:56 pm
    You people could get 99% of the American population to favor legalization and still not change anything.

    then what would you suggest?
    -different strategy?
    -armed revolution?
    -improved coordination of illicit trade?
    -switch to over the counter meds, and their derivatives, such as meth?
    this country has its issues,
    and there are hands that work in its prohibition,
    yet, turn and smoke or consume it themselves,
    but, ground has been gained, albeit it slow as fuck-
    but in time it will be legal-
    it just might take a leader in favor of it-
    who isn’t going to use the ‘I didn’t inhale’
    or ‘I DID inhale, I just didn’t get caught’ bullshit.
    … what strategy would you suggest?

  22. 68. Anonymous
    “You people?”
    Are you in the right sand box? Don’t you have a name or handle? What’s this “You people business?”

  23. Longtime Puffer Says:
    November 22nd, 2011 at 4:40 am
    A big hello to Amer. Gen. #45–sorry, but Cain still ain’t my man!
    Back at ya Puff. Hope everything is well with ya. Sure seems like there’s a boat load of trouble. When the government totally disregards 70% favorability on medical cannabis – there’s a huge fly in the ointment – and – something stinks to high heaven. It’s just as corrupt as everything else in Washington – perhaps the biggest corruption – and – that’s saying something. Any way – just thought I’d drop in and see what’s going on. O.K. on the Cain – NO – vote.

  24. Unfortunately, the older people who run our country will never understand that marijuana isn’t a hard drug or a gateway drug. However, young people today aren’t ignorant and have access to knowledge on the internet, and when those kids get into power, we will eventually see marijuana get legalized.

  25. Isn’t the constitution the job description for our government? Isn’t anything outside that treason without the consent of the people? Dictatorship. This is about alot more than a buzz.
    Legal pot would be like a big rock thrown in their still pond.

  26. This statement I’ve been hearing really fires me up.
    “marijuana that is purchased in this country through state authorized medical marijuana programs is being used to alleviate suffering from serious medical illnesses”
    I’ve been a headache/migraine sufferer since I was a child – at least 20 years. In my opinion, a little marijuana everyday instead of aspirin or other nsaids which kill a few thousand people each year (around 7600) seems like a fair use case to me. Triptans and opiates for migraines scare me as well. Also the anti-convulsants and other crap my neurologist tried to shove down my throat. I refused.
    I’ve been horribly addicted to nsaids and would much rather purchase or grow my own pain medicine (that won’t kill me). Why do I have to have some terminal illness to use a plant for even mild pain? It’s ridiculous.
    Reference: http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30

  27. “The Genesist Faith is recognized when there are sufficient Genesists in a country to agitate for their religious privileges.”
    A Genesist is one who believes in the Source and the Source’s gift of Sacrament. There are 3,141 Genesist colonies [counties] in the U.S. There is no current census of how many Genesists there are in each of those colonies – but – there exists a sufficient number of Genesists to agitate for our religious privileges and our Sacraments religious use.
    Our religious use – “the free exercise thereof” – is directly identified in the Establishment Clause, in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.
    The Reformation of the Genesist Faith.
    Let those who prohibit our Faith tell it to the Source and the Constitution of the United States of America.

  28. I see alot of really great points posted on this forum, but i see a few people who seem like they could use a little more information. I strongly suggest everyone here watches “The Union the business behind getting high” one of the best documentaries i’ve ever seen.

  29. This is just another example of wrong information being passed off as correct. A totally wrong assumption by the mainstream, as always!
    Think a little please: if they think it not being used properly, as said, but they support it any way, and they keep supporting it in larger numbers in spite of that fact, then it very clearly shows they do not care how it is being used, or that it is worth the small problem…thereby directly contradicting the title of the article with the actual facts of the article. Used to be a gernalest haad a dagrie. LOL!
    Troubling? Sounds very encouraging!
    Of course you must remember: marijuana has never ever hurt anyone. Say that about anything else. It helps and does zero harm…in any way. Studied more than any other drug/cure and has less side effects and causes less harm than any other substance so, a few fact might just help stop this madness.
    The only way to get hurt by this harmless weed is by the cops or the criminals…or if I were to drop 50 pounds of it on your head. Smoking just won’t hurt you and there is more proof of that than that we exist in the first place…

  30. CBS is 100% propaganda, try searching any of their websites for (CAFR) Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. 0 hits you’ll be getting. The point here is they censor, spin, and lie and any poll they have is rigged. Furthermore their websites are blackhat seo spammed by establishment agenda.
    You don’t need a poll to ask every person around you what they think. I’m getting 100% agreement on the legalization of cannabis from just asking people on the streets, why would I need to see a cbs poll?
    It’s like our elections. If I know a candidate is affilated with the UN, IPCC, AIPAC, PNAC, Bilderberg, Rothchilds, Banksters, Monsanto, etc Why would I need to watch another choreographed presidential debate? The ****ers aren’t even discussing real problems. US Constitution being gutted, NDAA, etc. If you KNOW who they are affiliated with, you don’t need multi-million dollar campaigns. You like CFR (Council Of Foreign Relations) I’m not voting for you, AIPAC member pound sand, Golbal warming/UN/IPCC are a cult of dangerous oath breakers pushing agenda 21. (better learn what Agenda 21 is the FEMA CAMPS ARE NOW ACTIVATED by the NDAA through KBR/Halliburton — You think I’m kidding?)
    You want to fix this situation? Better….
    1. OUTLAW ALL ELECTRONICS in elections.
    2. PAPER BALLOTS HAND COUNTED WITH AN UNBROKEN CHAIN OF CUSTODY, AND 100% PUBLIC OVERSIGHT
    3. RESTORE THE US CONSTITUTION TO A POINT IN THE PRE 911 EVENT – The failure to find the truth about 911 has allowed ALL THIS UNCONSTITUTIONAL **** .
    4. People who broke their oath of office, must never be allowed to hold any office, contract, be elected or access any government vault, classified data, etc.
    5. BANKETERS need to be indicted YESTERDAY!
    If we don’t get the US Constitution restored, NOTHING ELSE IS GOING TO MATTER.

  31. We need to start a superpac.
    Stoners for Obama
    Stoners for Romney
    Bipartisan, for sure. It would embarrass the hell out of them.
    I believe that marijuana should be legally sold in liquor stores, alongside any variety of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes.
    It will NOT trash your liver, so that’s a plus. Also, people do not become violent after using marijuana. It could be a huge business. I am just surprised that some lobbyist hasn’t pushed this through.

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