Three out of four Washington, D.C. voters would support changing District law to replace criminal penalties for possession of limited amounts of marijuana with a civil fine similar to a traffic ticket, according to a survey conducted last week by Public Policy Polling. Two-thirds (67%) said they believe law enforcement resources currently being used by District police to arrest individuals for marijuana possession should be directed toward other crimes.
The poll also found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of District voters would support a ballot measure similar to those approved by voters in Colorado and Washington in November, which made marijuana legal for adults and directed state officials to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. A solid majority (54%) said drug use should be treated as a public health issue, and people should no longer be arrested and locked up for possession of a small amount of any drug for personal use.
The survey of 1,621 randomly selected District voters was conducted April 10-11. The full results and crosstabs are available at http://www.mpp.org/DCpoll.
A national survey, released by the Pew Research Center on April 4, found that for the first time in its 40 years of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans (52%) support making marijuana legal. Just 45% said they think marijuana should remain illegal. Its report on the survey notes that a Gallup poll conducted in 1969 found just 12% supported making marijuana legal and 84% were opposed.
Given such strong support, MPP and our allies will be talking to community leaders and elected officials about various options for adopting a more sensible marijuana policy in D.C., including the possibility of a ballot initiative campaign as early as 2014.