A poll conducted at the end of September shows that 58% of Texas voters favor taxing and regulating marijuana in their state. Texas currently does not allow marijuana, either recreationally or for medical uses. In fact, an adult faces up to a year of jail time and a $2,000 fine for possession of even small amounts of marijuana. Despite the harsh current policy, 61% of Texans supported removing criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and implementing a $100 fine instead. Only 30% of those polled said they were against removing the criminal penalties, and remarkably only 38% said they would oppose a measure to tax and regulate marijuana.
Removing the threat of arrest could be a momentous change for the nearly 1.5 million adult marijuana users living in Texas, where 68,758 adults were arrested for simple marijuana possession in 2007 alone. It is estimated that in 2006, Texas spent over $655 million on marijuana arrests, yet marijuana use continues to increase.
Rob Kampia, part-time Texas resident and MPP executive director, commented on the poll:
Marijuana prohibition has been just as big a failure as alcohol prohibition. Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market.
Law enforcement officials’ time would be better spent addressing violent crimes instead of adults simply possessing marijuana. No adult should face potentially life-altering criminal penalties for using a product that is significantly less harmful than alcohol.
You can read the full results of the poll here.
A new poll jointly commissioned by MPP and the ACLU of Maryland shows that a majority of Marylanders support legalizing marijuana for adults and regulating it similarly to alcohol! If you live in Maryland, please let your legislators know that you are among the 53% of voters who believe adults should be allowed to use a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol.
In 2014, representatives in Annapolis will be considering several bills that propose a more sensible approach to marijuana policies. Voters are fully behind all of these reforms. In addition to showing majority support for making marijuana legal, our poll also found that 68% of Marylanders support a civil penalty for the simple possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. This is up 11 percentage points since our poll just two years ago!
Replacing jail time with a fine — or no penalty — would free up police, prosecutor, and court resources to focus on serious crimes. In 2011, there were 24,298 arrests in Maryland for marijuana, 90% of which were for mere possession! Legislators need to know what their constituents know – that is time to stop arresting adults for the possession of a substance that about half of all Americans have used.
Yesterday, in a 4-1 vote, Vermont’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve a bill that would reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Under H. 200, which has already passed the House, possession of up to an ounce of marijuana would become a civil offense punishable by a fine rather than a criminal misdemeanor.
Rep. Christopher Pearson
H. 200, introduced by Rep. Christopher Pearson (P-Burlington) with a tripartisan group of 38 co-sponsors, would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. Those under age 21 would be required to undergo substance abuse screening. Under current state law, possession of up to two ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for a subsequent offense.
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Vermont voters support removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and replacing them with a civil fine, according to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in February 2012.
Senators will soon be voting on this bill. If you live in Vermont, click here to send them one last message of support!
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.
According to a new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, nearly two-thirds of Minnesota voters support changing state law to allow people with serious and terminal illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The poll also found that the majority of voters would disapprove of their county sheriff or county attorney working to defeat such a bill.
Joni Whiting (Center) (Photo by Andrew VonBank)
“Personal medical decisions should be guided by someone who graduated from medical school, not law school or the police academy,” said Joni Whiting of Jordan, whose late daughter, Stephanie, used medical marijuana to relieve the extreme pain and nausea associated with cancer and chemotherapy. “Medical marijuana made life bearable for my daughter in her final months. No elected official should have the power to take that away.”
The results of the statewide survey come as state lawmakers prepare a bipartisan bill that would make it legal for Minnesota residents with debilitating medical conditions to access and use medical marijuana if recommended to do so by their physicians. The bill is expected to be introduced within the next two weeks.