[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%).