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.

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 want is clean, safe, and easy access to real cannabis. I’m tired of being treated like a run-away slave that must be a part of the “criminal system”. I just want to be like a normal person and not hide who I am as a cannabis user. Why can an alcoholic beat his wife and get off scotch-free, but a cannabis user is beaten in jail for not beating his wife?
    [Russ notes: I think that last sentence may be this month’s inadvertently ironic hilarious botched idiom winner.]

  2. You can say marijuana will HURT you, you can say it will make you DEPENDENT, or ADDICTED, you can say it gave you bronchitis… but there’s one thing you can NEVER say about marijuana… that it would kill you. NEVER.

  3. Well, when you create an easy-to-game system like California’s, which effectively became a backdoor way to legalize marijuana, then yes, people are going to notice that most of the patients are not AIDS or cancer patients but 20 something dudes with vauge, easy to fake illness. While many, if not most, patients have a legitimate illness, not all do, especially in California which has very liberal laws.
    I don’t think this is bad for legalization, I think this is bad for marijuana as a medicine. Lots of people get high, or believe that people should be able to get high freely. Not only that, but NORML of all organizations should be able to support getting high as an okay thing to do itself. When you act shocked that people have noticed that not every “patient” is particularly sick, then you’re just being silly, and playing into the idea that getting high is some sort of sin to be legislated against.
    On the other hand, for marijuana as medicine, I think it would be a crying shame if doctors and patients started ignoring it’s effectiveness for various maladies, whether it is legal or semi-legal or what have you. It really should be one of the first medicines considered in many cases, as it is non-toxic and very safe.
    [Russ responds: Not shocked at all, and if you peruse some of our writings on the subject, you’ll find our predictions of exactly this sort of public perception forming. (Google “medical marijuana box canyon”.) Trying to fit marijuana in the “medical only” frame is too small a box for cannabis. It is medicine, certainly, and I have scores of personal friends and acquaintances as proof. But it’s also sacrament for some, and industrial product, and a fun way to enjoy some great music, among other things. Cannabis doesn’t fit nicely in any established paradigm, either in the doctor/pharmacy/medical sense or in the booze/cigarettes/intoxicant sense. It is important that we are truthful about the plant and forthright about the real reason it should be legal… because there is no rightful authority to prevent a person from sowing a crop for personal use or to prevent a person from doing something to themselves that harms no other.]

  4. Thanks for getting McKay into a better-paying job and getting him to regret his having to prosecute Marc Emery and to advocate legalization.
    Lawrence O’Donnell’s show was immediately moved to the 10 o’clock time slot after this pro-legalization polemic.
    Spin that the perceived abuses of medical marijuana has been put to an end by the latest DEA raids.
    A group in Germany is going to petition for cannabis clubs, it has come to my attention as a result of the wietpas by the Netherlands. If France would follow suit, especially in light of their teetering economic problems and the Dutch barring of all but Germans and Belgians in southern Limburg, the benefit of taxes and reduced criminal activity to fill the need for cannabis the French were previously getting from the Maastricht area and southern Netherlands would be a justifiable move of French exceptionalism. If any countries in Europe consider themselves exceptional, it’s France, as it has no U.S. troops on its soil, and will not cave to American pressure not to move toward a coffeeshop system of its own or not to legalize. This would put pressure on the career diplomats of the U.N. in Vienna and elsewhere to change international conventions to allow cannabis legalization, at least to get the hell out of the way.
    The Middle East/Arab countries are know for loving their very high quality cannabis products, and their export gives the U.S occasion to establish NGOs and covert activities and friendship treaties with them while providing them with instant jobs and hard currency from the export of cannabis products from Morocco, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Egypt, etc. All produce excellent cannabis products, and it will calm the populaces and endear them to the modern creature comforts cherished in the West. It will foot the bill for their westernization and modernization, make more friends than enemies. It’s cheaper to have friends, of course.
    Expand the OWS movements, put the pressure on the supercommittee, get more media pundits like O’Donnell to take the pro-legalization positions.
    Lawrence O’Donnell needs to stop being threatened and punished, and needs to get his show back on prime time opposite O’Reilly.
    Can you get Warren Buffett to trash cannabis prohibition?
    You’ve got all these unemployed people, druggies according to the dullard politician King from New York, smoking weed in public, exaggeration and hyperbole, of course, but they’re making an income with an underground untaxed market and to get them back into the workforce once DC geniuses do get jobs creation into their heads these people will have to be able to pass a pre-employment piss test, and you know, as long as they aren’t high on the job, they should get the job and keep the job. The whole metabolites stay in the system way after the high has worn off thing must go out the window. Cannabis will have to be legalized and all federal sanctions lifted and federal strings mandating firing for cannabis lifted, and the whole matter of cannabis left to the states to regulate.
    The wietpas is doing its function to put the pressure on other countries to stop outsourcing the supply for their own citizens. That is why once the wietpas is in effect, only Dutch citizens will be allowed in the coffeeshops if Minister Opstelten has his way. That speaks volumes to the U.S. to legalize in the name of human rights in order to eliminate the murders on the U.S. border, at least eliminate them for cannabis.
    Really, DC, have you no shame?
    Have you no remorse or pity for all of the murders and deaths that have taken place because of marijuana prohibition?
    Toomey, Republican supercommittee member from Pennsylvania, should cite the Shafer Commission from way back when in 1972 and show his outrage at all the money spent on cannabis prohibition since, use it as an argument in support of legalization, without admitting that he used it. I mean, you need to do some serious digging on Pat Toomey, his high school and college pals need their lips loosened with alcohol and/or money to tell the truth on him. This is about loyalty to the American people to end the war their own government is waging against them and not about loyalty to Toomey.
    Dig, dig, dig! Living here in Allentown, Toomey. You can’t be as good two shoes as you want your image to be. Everyone has youthful indiscretions, and yours will be used to endear you to ending cannabis prohibition if your bean-counting career does not.
    Get on it! Dig, dig, dig that dirt on all the members of the supercommittee to get them to recommend ending cannabis prohibition at the federal level.
    Do it!

  5. 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.

  6. I garantee that 30 to 40 percent of the 51% are people who are old and are influenced by reefer madness. Its not like I want them to die or anything but most will be gone within a decade or 2, meaning that the 51 percent will be cut significantly over time and newer generations will start smoking which will make the current 49% higher. It’s a matter of time folks so let’s all be patient.

  7. I am sorry but I have seen mainstream news pump too much propaganda up America’s butt to trust a poll by them now.
    I would trust a survey by Jon Stewart and the Comedy channel more.

  8. PS:Copenhagen is trying to “legalize” marijuana sales,,,Switzerland is legal for growing your own,,the dominoes are lining up.

  9. Here is a poll to ask the public.
    Question: Which of the following best describes
    the difference between cannabis and marijuana?
    A. They are the same thing.
    B. Cannabis is a plant. Marijuana is both a plant
    and a drug.
    C. Cannabis is a plant. Marijuana is a term.
    D. The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts
    of the smoke produced by the combustion
    of the plant Cannabis sativa L.
    Hint: Google Talking Points for the Peloton

  10. To be fair, the question about “other uses of pot” is very complex. Asking a person if the marijuana dispensaries are used for “medicine” or “other things” is a false dichotomy. The truth is, the dispensaries will inevitably be used for both purposes. Some people are going to “slip through the cracks” and get pot, despite not having a true medical need for it. But it’s legitimate medicine for many others. If we applied the logic of marijuana prohibitionists to other substances, we should ban all prescription drugs, because someone could theoretically fake their way into being prescribed a harmful/intoxicated drug.

  11. This ticker tape parade is going to slow for me. Legalization now!!! The government shouldn’t have the right to stop me from using pot. It’s that simple.
    p.s., Thanks for the stash jar. It’s great.

  12. This is all so frustrating to me. As I know many do use it for recreational purposes or just to de-stress (which I don’t see anything wrong with, if anything that makes it prophylactic medication), I seriously depend on it to survive. It’s the only thing that makes my GI tract function properly. So when the majority of people just blow you off or think you’re just using it for fun or refuse to believe that it has any medicinal purposes, I get very depressed. I don’t have “a guy” (I wouldn’t even know where to find one tbh. Do I just say, “Hey random shady looking guy standing in front of AM/PM, got some weed?” I mean really…) to buy from and depend on the dispensaries. I can’t grow since I live in an apartment, so when I see these crackdowns and people buying up propaganda like brainless robots I get worried I might have trouble getting what I need.
    But I do blame mainstream media for a lot of the continued stigma of MMJ. I watch the news often and when they do a story on MMJ in general, they use the retarded tie dye Bob Marley looking smoke shops or graphics. I also blame a lot of the bigger dispensaries and recommendation clinics for being so tactless with using the stoner image and stoner terms to promote their what is supposed to be medical oriented business. What do they expect when you see commercials on TV for a place called something like “420 Haven” that plays Jimi Hendrix sounding music in the background, has LSD colors going across the screen and promotes how quick and easy and cheap it is. It’s embarrassing and not conducive and keeps a negative image in the public eye. It’s basically saying, “Yeah, we’re using it for kicks, so what?” Their public image and marketing needs a huge overhaul.

  13. Also, the “sickness role” (google it) is a common problem in all area of medicine and society, so the poll result period isn’t surprising. Most people don’t think people use pain killers when they need them, or use handicap parking when they should because they don’t look like what they expect a sick person to look like.
    With so many disabilities and ailments invisible that MMJ treats, this is a huge hurdle especially. People have the image that AIDS and cancer patients are the only severely ill people and that these patients *look* a certain way. They act a certain way. And if they don’t, well, that’s where the problem comes in. The image of using medicinally in a recognizable way is for the bald, frail, hunched over, 75lb patients with a small little joint, hands shaking, who look like they’re on death’s door. Considering most people who are ill don’t look like this, it’s a problem.

  14. I think this poll is weak I can’t believe that 18-29 is at only 52% when other polls have shown it greater then 70% seems like a bad sample to me.

  15. Now I will have to thouroughly research this, but I think Lawrence O’Donnell was scheduled to be moved prior to his excellent “Rewrite” on marijuana. In other words, his report did not facilitate the time slot change. After all, the tile of his show is “The Last Word”. makes sense to have him last, after Bashir, Ratigan, Matthews, Sharpton, Matthews again, Ed Shultz and Rachel Maddow,most of whom have not publicy com out – except for Ratigan who I think is the only pro pot host there at MSNBC besides O’Donnell..

  16. Weed will never be legal in the US as long as crusty old white men run things. William Randolph Hearst began this particular crucifixion, and until his brethren are gone, it will continue. As with most things, its all about money.

  17. I really think it’s time for some people in the film industry to consider writing and producing a major motion picture (not a documentary) about cannabis prohibition. There’s a fascinating story to be told about the roots of this disgraceful and useless movement founded in greed, ignorance and fear (Anslinger, Hearst etc). Also it could present stories of how people’s lives have been adversely affected.
    I know there are many great writers, producers, actors etc that would love to be a part of something like this if it was a high quality project. Just a thought to consider. I for one would certainly want to see it.

  18. These are all great comments. They have inspired me to write for the first time. I have psych degree and whether the writers know it or not they are touching base on real life problems. I.E. b00u comments refer to a disability that is “Socially Stigmatizing” meaning that it is a disability that affects you socially (everyone can visibly tell).
    I live in FL and do not have access to MMJ. I had a shoulder replacement at 24, I am 28 now and basically have extreme chronic pain and limited use of my arm. It affects me on a daily basis in all aspects of life i.e. sleep, work, bathing myself, cleaning my home, etc. When you look at me you cannot tell that I am hurt, but really get to know me and the story is very different.
    There are no other surgical options for me, and now my options are take pain killers for the rest of my life or live with the pain. But there is always option “C” beautiful cannabis. One bong swat of kush makes the pain go away. I have yet to experience the pain killing effects of edibles, but I am told that is when it really helps.
    Doctors in FL basically prescribe me insane amounts of Oxycodone and Oxycontin. Which I don’t like to take because I don’t want to DIE. Double check my stats but I think 7 people die of an overdose every day in FL. And that is insane!! I have chosen to use cannabis despite the consequences, and as a result I have become a victim of prohibition. Now on probation I am unable to use the one natural thing that really helps, my sweet mary jane.
    I fell this is a sad scenario that I know many others also share. I CAN TAKE ENOUGH SYNTHETIC HEROIN TO KILL ME, BUT I CAN’T SMOKE SOME POT! Lets get real here people. One can easily kill you, one has never killed a single person. To me this is grade school logic and the choice is easy, one can kill you and one can’t. Am I stupid for thinking that way, or is everyone else just ignorantly bliss? When you have chronic pain all you want to do is make it go away. It effects your decision making and all that matters is making the pain go away, “f” the legalities.
    My terms could be wrong cause it has been a minute since a read a psych book, but I believe “Generativity” is a term that refers to people in power don’t want to let that power go. They are set in their ways and will fight to keep them that way. So basically in order for real change to happen, the next generation will have to come to power. When all these old people die and the baby boomers are in charge, that is when I feel legalization will come. We are so close, FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT PEOPLE!

  19. I use to trust the media back in the 1970’s. It was the time when the late former president Richard M. Nixon hated the media. He had admired the Soviet Union on how they control their television broadcast.

  20. You also need to recognize that polls put out by news organizations tend to be HEAVILY biased. It is not like the contacted a random sampling of thousands of individuals in order to get a proper sample population that is representative of the entire population as a whole. They simply put a question online and let people respond to it. This introduces several types of bias: 1) Only people who watch CBS or go to their website will respond to this poll. 2)Only people with strong opinions either way would feel compelled to weigh in, the majority of Americans with no strong feelings either way would not take the time to give their opinion.

  21. John Williamson your comment about “Old people who know nothing about cannabis” is crass, rude, derogatory, and discriminatory. Why don’t you go talk to Dennis Peron about “old people who know nothing about cannabis”, seeing as how this country would most likely have no medical cannabis laws without him. Perhaps you should sit down and have a conversation with Keith Stroup, founder of NORML, about how old people “know nothing about cannabis”. Perhaps people should not pay attention to Ron Paul, because he’s old and obviously “knows nothing about cannabis”. I could go on and on, but the point is think about your words before you post them. I end now with two golden words that I believe poignantly sum up my argument. Willie Nelson.

  22. To hell with medical marijuana, Its recreational just as much as medicinal. We all know it. I hope the day I use it medicinally never comes. I believe my 30 + years of recreational smoking helped keep me in good health and youthful. Yes it is a preventative therapy for me. Yes I am a convicted fellon because of this.

  23. Yeah, as some others here are saying, unfortunately when it comes to polling there are just so many various things, from the way the question is phrased, to the gender of the person polling, to their tone of voice and even subconscious cues they give off regarding the topic, all that can throw off numbers, sometimes significantly.
    Of course, that makes it really difficult to ever really poll anything truly effectively, cause in the real world no one can completely eliminate every single variable that could throw something like that off, but what that means to me personally is that rather than looking at a single poll and saying “Yeah, these must definitely be good numbers”, I’d figure one should rather look for trends and averages among polls then base an approximation for a certain period off of that.
    I’m not saying that one should totally take any poll with a grain of salt, I’m just saying that polls can vary wildly in accuracy relative to actual numbers, so that’s always my hope whenever a poor poll comes up on an issue.

  24. British House of Lords & Beckley Foundation press release (unfortunately I’m gttting a server error trying to retrieve the page, maybe it’ll be up and running later)
    THE GLOBAL WAR ON DRUGS HAS FAILED
    IT IS TIME FOR A NEW APPROACH
    WE THE UNDERSIGNED call on members of the public and Parliament to recognise that:-
    Fifty years after the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was launched, the global war on drugs has failed, and has had many unintended and devastating consequences worldwide.
    Use of the major controlled drugs has risen, and supply is cheaper, purer and more available than ever before. The UN conservatively estimates that there are now 250 million drug users worldwide.
    Illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industry in the world, after food and oil, estimated to be worth $450 billion a year, all in the control of criminals.
    Fighting the war on drugs costs the world’s taxpayers incalculable billions each year. An estimated 10 million people are in prison worldwide for drug-related offences, mostly “little fish” – personal users and small-time dealers.
    Corruption amonst law-enforcers and politicians, especially in producer and transit countries, has spread as never before, endangering democracy and civil society.
    Stability, security and development are threatened by the fallout from the war in drugs, as are human rights. Tens of thousands of people die in the drug war each year.
    The drug-free world so confidently predicted by supporters of the war on drugs is further than ever from attainment. The policies of prohibition create more harms than they prevent. We must seriously consider shifting resources away from criminalising tens of millions of otherwise law abiding citizens, and move towards an approach based on health, harm-reduction, cost-effectiveness and respect for human rights. Evidence consistently shows that these health-based approaches deliver better results than criminalisation.
    Improving our drug policies is one of the key policy challenges of our time.
    It is time for world leaders to fundamentally review their strategies in repsonse to the drug phenomenon. That is what the Global Commission on Drug Policy, led by four former Presidents, by Kofi Annan and by other world leaders, has bravely done with its ground-breaking Report, first presented in New York in June, and now at the House of Lords on 17 November.
    At the root of current policies lies the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It is time to re-examine this treaty. A document entitled ‘Rewriting the UN Drug Conventions’ has recently been commissioned in order to show how amendments to the conventions could be made which would allow individual countries the freedom to explore drug policies that best suit their domestic needs, rather than impose the current “one-size-fits-all” solution. As we cannot eradicate the production, demand or use of drugs, we must find new ways to minimise harm. We should give support to our Governments to explore new policies based on scientific evidence.
    Let us break the taboo on debate and reform. The time for action is now.
    Yours faithfully,
    President Jimmy Carter
    Former President of the United States, Nobel Prize winner
    President Fernando H. Cardoso
    Former President of Brazil
    President César Gaviria
    Former President of Colombia
    President Vicente Fox
    Former President of Mexico
    President Ruth Dreifuss
    Former President of Switzerland
    President Lech Wa??sa
    Former President of Poland, Nobel Prize winner
    President Aleksander Kwa?niewski
    Former President of Poland
    George P. Schultz
    Former US Secretary of State
    Jaswant Singh
    Former Minister of Defence, of Finance, and for External Affairs, India
    Professor Lord Piot
    Former UN Under Secretary-General
    Louise Arbour, CC, GOQ
    Former UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights
    Carel Edwards
    Former Head of the EU Commission’s Drug Policy Unit
    Javier Solana, KOGF, KCMG
    Former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy
    Thorvald Stoltenberg
    Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (Norway) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Professor Sir Harold Kroto
    Chemist, Nobel Prize winner
    Dr. Kary Mullis
    Chemist, Nobel Prize winner
    Professor John Polanyi
    Chemist, Nobel Prize winner
    Professor Kenneth Arrow
    Economist, Nobel Prize winner
    Professor Thomas C. Schelling
    Economist, Nobel Prize winner
    Professor Sir Peter Mansfield
    Economist, Nobel Prize winner
    Professor Sir Anthony Leggett
    Physicist, Nobel Prize winner
    Professor Martin L. Perl
    Physicist, Nobel Prize winner
    Mario Vargas Llosa
    Writer, Nobel Prize winner
    Wis?awa Szymborska
    Poet, Nobel Prize winner
    Professor Sir Ian Gilmore
    Former President of the Royal College of Physicians
    Professor Robert Lechler
    Dean of School of Medicine, KCL
    Professor A. C. Grayling
    Master of the New College of the Humanities
    Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta
    Professor of Economics at Cambridge
    Asma Jahangir
    Former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Execution
    Professor Noam Chomsky
    Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT
    Carlos Fuentes
    Novelist and essayist
    Sir Richard Branson
    Entrepreneur and Founder of the Virgin Group
    John Whitehead
    Chair of the WTC Memorial Foundation
    Maria Cattaui
    Former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce
    Nicholas Green, QC
    Former Chairman of the Bar Council
    Professor David Nutt
    Former Chair of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs
    Professor Trevor Robbins
    Professor of Neuroscience at Cambridge
    Professor Niall Ferguson
    Professor of History at Harvard University
    Professor Peter Singer
    Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University
    Professor Jonathan Wolff
    Professor of Philosophy at UCL
    Professor Robin Room
    School of Population Health, University of Melbourne
    Sir Peregrine Worsthorne
    Former Editor of The Sunday Telegraph
    Dr. Jan Wiarda
    Former President of European Police Chiefs
    Dr. Muhammed Abdul Bari, MBE
    Former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain
    Sting
    Musician and actor
    Yoko Ono
    Musician and artist
    Bernardo Bertolucci
    Film Director
    Gilberto Gil
    Musician, former Minister of Culture, Brazil
    John Perry Barlow
    Co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Tom Lloyd
    Former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire
    Bob Ainsworth, MP
    Former UK Secretary of State for Defence
    Peter Lilley, MP
    Former Secretary of State for Social Security
    Tom Brake, MP
    Dr. Julian Huppert, MP
    Caroline Lucas, MP
    Paul Flynn, MP
    Dr. Patrick Aeberhard
    Former President of Doctors of the World
    Gary Johnson
    Republican US Presidential Candidate
    Lord Mancroft
    Chair of the Drug and Alcohol Foundation
    General Lord Ramsbotham
    Former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
    Lord Rees, OM
    Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society
    Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss
    Director of the Beckley Foundation

  25. Russ, I’m inclined to be energized and hopeful, not disturbed. These results indicate the dialogue continues — people really are thinking about this issue actively — and the notion that people generally support cannabis’ medicinal uses but think most users acquire it for other purposes points directly to (1) the reality that many in fact do use MMJ as a ruse for recreational and other uses (the poll indicates that the majority of Americans in all groups believe this) and (2) the dissonance that is necessary for tipping this issue. That discrepancy in opinions begs lots of vital, core value questions for citizens to sort out for themselves:
    Is it morally acceptable to alter one’s state of mind provide no harm is caused to others, and if not, should all mind-altering substances be banned? If they are banned, what results can we expect from governmental efforts to control consumption?
    If they should not be banned, how does one decide which ones are appropriately banned, and how do you determine which ones are more harmful than others?
    This then begs the question of who has sovereign rights over an individual’s body and what they do with it. Pro-choice advocates who otherwise oppose legalization have no choice but to resolve the dissonance that occurs if they support their right to terminate a pregnancy while opposing another person’s right to ingest a mind-altering substance of any kind.
    And the questions go on and on. It’s questions, not statements, that change people’s minds and cause effective dissonance. Activists at all levels would do well to focus efforts on framing of questions, and to do so with techniques that have positive behavioral consequences. For example, to the ‘think of the children’ objection, many focus on statements about harm reduction in a legalized and regulated environment. A more effective framing, if one wished to use statements (I’ll address questions in a moment), would revolve around health improvements and safer environments for child development. So instead of advocating legalization as a harm reduction technique, instead the statement should be framed as health improvement and increased safety. (This has meaningful implications about risk seeking behavior – and that’s not a negative connotation – that is exceptionally useful, but is beyond the scope of this reply)
    An even more effective technique is a question that creates dissonance, and positively frames a suggested solution. For example, I’ve received very muted responses to opponents when I have asked them the question, ‘Do drug dealers card children like retailers card adults for alcohol purchases?’ The answer is obvious, and nearly always the answer is either a blank stare (dissonance running wild in the mind), or it’s ‘No, but I don’t think that legalizing it will make things better’ (positively implied solution). And of course, I love it when they respond in the latter, because then I ask them, ‘Why don’t you believe it will improve the current situation?’, placing them in the very awkward position of defending their stance after acknowledging the failure of the current state. Again the dissonance is palpable.
    I’ve used techniques like this countless times with amazing effect. And the techniques can be applied to every objection opponents have, even with the MMJ ruse. It gets back to basic questions that are far more powerful, and this poll screams dissonance in the public’s mind. So I’m energized.
    It’s time to get more active folks. You must strike while the iron is hot, and it is most assuredly very hot right now. Start dialogue, not with supporters, but with opponents. Target the groups who disproportionately oppose legalization, like women and older Americans. Ask thoughtful questions that create conflicts between people’s world view and individual rights. You won’t convert everyone. In fact, many will deepen their opposition to remain consistent with their views, even in the face of this conflict. But many will change their minds, and it is in these conversations that we can finally tip this towards legalization.

  26. @bOOu – it’s the loose regulatory structure that causes commercial speech to go awry. Personally, I support highly restricted commercial speech in a regulated and legalized environment. I similarly support even tighter restrictions on alcohol, tobacco and drug companies alike. In the absence of control, each of these groups have proven they will subvert concern for the well being of their customers in pursuit of economic gain. I’m as free market as just about anyone I know, but I know well that self-interest can cause people to ignore concerns for others they might otherwise have. Highly restricting commercial speech is a necessary component to a regulated environment, in my view.

  27. @The Orcacle – The OWSers are close to articulating a cogent theme, that unfettered pursuit of profit results in great suffering of many, and that some regulation is required and justice to be served, to those who cause harm to others. That seems to be the central theme to their movement, and like you I agree fully that this theme is in lock step with the legalization movement. I’ve wondered why advocacy groups have not joined in to galvanize support and open the dialogue. They’ve garnered more media attention without an articulate voice than the legalization movement has garnered in 40 years of effort. It speaks volumes for the work that needs to be done, but at the same time, it is (is quickly is becoming a ‘was’) an incredible opportunity for legalization supporters to broaden the conversation to human rights and the consequences of harming others, whether by altering one’s state of mind or blindly pursing economic gain. The problem is the same in my view.

  28. My friend and I both smoke almost every hour. I smoke (medical cannabis) and he smokes (recreational cigarettes). We both made a bet to stop for 3 weeks. Guess who won? Now we both admitted to craving our substances but my cravings stopped after the first 2 days. He on the other hand craved it every single day. So… my “Controlled” substance had NO control over me. Btw I won. :). Keep fighting America

  29. Arn’t most drugs being used for other than “medical” purposes? What’s wrong with non-medical consumption of chemicals?

  30. It is all about the money. The alcohol and tobacco industry have lobbyists up at congress lobbying against the legalization of marijuana. Together they stand to lose a whole load of money. If these big companies loss money the politicians loss money. Heaven forbid if American citizens should grow marijuana. How the hell will the government tax that? The way they see it is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It does not matter how much sense it makes to legalize marijuana. No amount of rationalization or good hard evidence and facts you throw at it, things will not change until there is some support monetarily to legalize marijuana or some how stop the flow of money that empowers these entities. The politicians will not entertain an idea without some capital to feed their capitalist machine. After all these years Americans are still surprised that congress cannot make the “harder right choice” when it concerns the citizens of this nation. Americans buy the very alcohol and tobacco from these companies that their government has taxed beyond belief. It is the Americans very own money working against them. Whose best interests do they have in mind? It is their interests and the ol’ might Franklin (face on the $100 bill). And if you listen very closely you can almost here them say, Let’s keep it that way;) The conflict of interest is their Love of Money. Americans must boycott alcohol and tobacco. Yeah, right.

  31. You don’t need a majority, you only need to control the margin. If the 2012 election was Obama 49%, Romney (accept it) 49%, Gary Johnson 2%, Marijauna would be sold in the produce section of grocery stores by 2016. Call Gary Johnson and tell him to run as an Idependent.

  32. i decided to post today…as much as i’d like to see it legal, let me just explain once and for all what the real scenario is…
    as a former grower and a basic intellectual, let me give you the reasons why it will NEVER be illegal:
    because the 5 largest lobbying powers in the US would be essentially bankrupted…
    1) Timber- hemp would no longer to be banned for the ridiculous reason that it somehow gets people high which would bankrupt the paper industry and god knows what else because of all the uses from hemp including paper, anything using fibers especially industries using synthetic fibers which is why DuPont was part of the smear campaign in the 30’s, etc.
    2) Oil/Energy- hemp is one of the most versatile sources for bio fuel/energy
    3) Pharmaceutical- now one of the leading influences in national policy for profiteering, many would find that natural marijuana would easily replace whatever garbage their doctors are feeding them would solve their problems without the side affects for a list of ailments so long it would take pages, marijuana is the earth’s best therapeutic since beginning of time
    4) Tobacco- honestly, how many people you think would stop smoking 10 dollar packs of cigarettes for practically free unregulated marijuana, when i was a grower i felt a sense of satisfaction because i knew first hand that i was keeping some of my clients away from dangerous tobacco because i supplied them with cheap high grade marijuana (organically grown)
    5) Alcohol- same reason as tobacco, the largest tobacco and alcohol companies created Partnership for a Drug Free America and saw and 80% increase in profits the following year…coincidence?…hardly
    so as you can see if pretty much all the fascist, manipulating financial forces that control our nation decide to just retire, we might see the legalization of marijuana sometime soon, not even mentioning the fact that it’s use greatly promotes ‘free thought’ and people might actually wake up to what’s going on around them, heaven forbid
    so basically understand this…all the time and energy that people spend trying to get marijuana legalized would be much better spent battling the financial forces that have seized control of our gov’t because until this international regime of globalist intentions is overthrown, you’ll NEVER see marijuana legalized…just presenting a harsh but TRUE fact, sorry, dont stone the messenger XD

  33. “O what a tangled web we weave when we learn to decieve.”
    Harry J. Anslinger started it all with his lies. His lies have morphed into “The masterpiece in the art of brainwashing”, with Nixon piling on his “War on Drugs” in 1970 and demented Ronny Reagan’s “Weeeeeelll, just say no”.
    Well the cannabis community decided to fight fire with fire – actually fight lies with half truths. Is that any better than what the feds did to us? Debateable for sure. But the BIG DIFFERENCE is that EVERY MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENT is not part of a government database that labels you A CRIMINAL UNDER FEDERAL LAW. What will you do when some facist hater of cannabis gets elected – like Mitt Romney? Or the re election of Barack Obama – a hypocrite.
    People need to get pot FULLY LEGALIZED YESTERDAY!!!
    Copenhagen is on the way to what we should have here – FULL OUT LEGALIZAION. NOT HALF ASSED LEGALIZATION, NOT AMSTERDAM PYSDO LEGALIZATION, NOT DECRIMINALIZATION – BUT FULL OUT LEGALIZATION WITH SALES IN YOUR LOCAL STORES. They expect to get this done in JANUARY 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. @ #30 name name: You’re on to something. The institutionalized paranoia regarding all things cannabis is a symptom of a deep spiritual dysfunction. To me, the sign that humanity has actually evolved spiritually will be when we see a headline in the NYTimes: “Marijuana is legal!” That will mean we have collectively overcome a major delusion and disconnect from the natural world.

  35. The real sad part is that the corrupt powers that be, have the control and overwhelming ignorance to purpetuate their ironfist withholding of a god given healing herb. Theres more than enough evidence of medical value to warrant rescheduling and all out serious research on this plant. God help us if we can’t see that. Frigging tards shouldn’t be in charge.

  36. Who do you think said this?
    The federal government does not have the authority to tell its citizens which of the plants God set growing on this earth they are permitted to utilize for medicinal purposes. Regulating such matters as best benefits the community is the responsibility of state and local governments. If Alabama residents want marijuana to be illegal they can do that. If California votes for weed to be sold at Wal-Mart they can do that. And citizens can then live where they want. “Problem solved.” The best way for marijuana counterculturalists to proceed is to buffer transitional periods toward legalization with a decade or so of a medicinal marijuana program. The culture needs to continue to shift toward understanding drugs as tools used by responsible people to fix medical problems and raise ones’ quality of life, not party pills for recreation.
    If you said Herman Cain – you’re right.

  37. “It’s interesting to note that no news organization has ever shown a poll with majority support for full-legalization.”
    Russ, if you’re reading this, do you have any guess why this is true? What do professional pollsters have which news organizations don’t?
    [Russ responds: Well, let’s eliminate conspiracy thinking and presume all polls done, whether by polling orgs or news orgs, are on the up-and-up, using valid statistical samples, not ignoring cell-only voters, etc. (A big “if”.) I think it would have to do with the reaction of the person being polled to the name of the pollster calling. Do people respond more honestly to “Hi, I’m from Gallup and we’re doing a poll…” compared to “Hi, I’m from CBS News and we’re doing a poll…”? I don’t know why they might. The question is identical in both polls (“Do you think that the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?”, except Gallup omits the word “that”.)
    Now, if you want to get all conspiratorial, I’d suggest that Gallup’s business model doesn’t depend on regular stream of ad revenue from Big Pharma. You could note that on 5/6/2009 Zogby announced the first poll to show majority (52%) support for legalization, then just two months later (7/1/2009) CBS announces a poll with just 41% support. On 10/13/2011, Gallup announces their first 50% support for legalization. One month later (11/18/2011), CBS announces a poll with just 40% support.]

  38. Denmark is exhibiting signs of Danish exceptionalism regarding its laws and policy on cannabis, and it could stand to benefit from the Dutch loss when they implement their wietpas. I have always thought the most independent-minded country in western Europe was France because they have no U.S. bases on their soil and generally do not extradite to the U.S. unlike other western European countries that have U.S. bases and tend to cave in to Washington, D.C. when it even so much as hints at what it wants.
    Eveybody’s economy is hurting. It seems obvious to cut the waste that is the low-hanging fruit that is also tantamount to the easy revenues and instant jobs.
    ****
    And this just in from this past Friday from the British newspaper The Telegraph:
    Copenhagen votes to legalise marijuana
    Marijuana could soon be legalised in Copenhagen, after the city voted overwhelmingly in favour of a scheme that would see the drug sold through a network of state-run shops and cafes.
    Copenhagen overwhelmingly voted in favour of a scheme that would see marijuana sold through a network of state-run shops and cafes Photo: ALAMY
    By Richard Orange, Malmö
    2:55PM GMT 18 Nov 2011
    The scheme, if approved by the Danish parliament at the start of next year, could make the city the first to fully legalise, rather than simply tolerate, marijuana consumption.
    The drug is already sold openly on the streets of Christiania, a self-proclaimed ‘free town’ in the city centre, despite the closure of the neighbourhood’s Amsterdam-style coffee shops in 2004.
    But marijuana has never been officially decriminalised and those caught in possession of even small amounts face fines of up to £450.
    “We are thinking of perhaps 30 to 40 public sales houses, where the people aren’t interested in selling you more, they’re interested in you,” said Mikkel Warming, the Mayor in charge of Social Affairs at Copenhagen City Council. “Who is it better for youngsters to buy marijuana from? A drug pusher, who wants them to use more, who wants them to buy hard drugs, or a civil servant?”
    The City Council voted on Thursday night, by a margin of 39 votes to nine, to empower Mr Warming’s Social Affairs committee to draw up a detailed outline of how the plan would work.
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    The proposal will then be sent to to the Danish Parliament for approval early next year.
    “We want to make it a little bit more concrete what kind of decriminalisation we want: should it be a public buying system, should there be an age limit?” Mr Warming explained.
    He said he was opposed to instituting cannabis cafés, where marijuana use is tolerated, despite it remaining illegal to grow and import the drug.
    This, he argued, would leave the revenues, which are estimated at £200m, in the control of the city’s notorious biker gangs.
    “We don’t want an Amsterdam model. We want a way to make it legal to import or grow marijuana.” he said.
    Cannabis possession and production in the Netherlands are still technically punishable by fines. Its notorious coffee shops are also illegally but are tolerated.
    The Danish parliament voted down a previous proposal submitted by Copenhagen City Council three years ago.

  39. Be cool if NORML became a place to bitch about a place to grow a good plant for all the hemp. Figuring 100 million acres a target point for hemp. They want green. Give em green. Feed the world.
    They want What about the children. Give it to them. We want Do no harm.
    Seems science has proved crimes against humanity and economic savings in health care to sums of 100’s of billions a year.
    Why are they so stupid? This shit is worth a nobel prise.

  40. legalize marijuana now. i don’t understand the country would make millions of dollars just by marketing it it is not a drug but a plant and it will make the world a better place with marijuana you can make lots of money have a good time and love every thing but we got alcohol with drunk drivers that kill people but with weed no one dies every one is just happening and lots of people will get the munchies and eat making more money it is the answer to our economical problems sell weed make lots of money. take 10% of the money and put it towards welfare schools homeless shelters feed the freaking world more jobs as farmers if we legalize marijuana we can save the world 1 joint at a time.

  41. @4 MENS ALLIANCE: There are exceptions to everything. My wife is smarter than me. But, she too thinks it should be legal!

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