Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Gallup: Record 46% of Americans Support Legal Marijuana

October 29th, 2010 26 Comments Kate Zawidzki

A new Gallup poll released yesterday shows that a record number of Americans believe marijuana should be made legal, while support for keeping it illegal continues to decline steadily. As Californians prepare to vote on Proposition 19 on Tuesday, a record 46% of Americans “think the use of marijuana should be made legal” – up from 44% last year, according to Gallup. An all-time low of 50% believe marijuana should remain illegal.

These numbers are more evidence that Americans are increasingly rejecting the notion that otherwise law-abiding adults should be criminalized for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. To put these latest results in perspective, more Americans now support legalizing marijuana than approve of President Obama’s job performance.

According to Gallup’s most recent polling average, 44 percent of Americans currently approve of President Obama’s job performance.

Gallup found that support for making marijuana legal was highest among liberals (72%), 18- to 29-year-olds (61%) and people living in the West (58%). Majority support also exists among Democrats, independents, men, and moderates.

No matter what happens on Election Day next week, these numbers show that nationally, support for ending prohibition continues to trend in the right direction. “If the trend of the past decade continues at a similar pace, majority support could be a reality within the next few years,” according to Gallup.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate, Video

It Shouldn’t Be A Crime

October 28th, 2010 25 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The 2010 mid-term elections are just 5 days away, so there is no better time to share this important message:

No adult should be punished for choosing something safer than alcohol.

We produced this powerful 30-second video to inspire you and everyone you share it with.  It’s time to give adults the legal option to use a substance that is safer than alcohol – marijuana!  Use this video to inspire your friends, family members, and co-workers to support efforts to tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol.

Read the rest of this entry »

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The MPP Insider, Episode #017

October 28th, 2010 19 Comments Kate Zawidzki

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Is 2010 the Turning Point in the Failed War on Marijuana?

October 28th, 2010 20 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of Proposition 19, the ballot measure Californians will vote on next week that would make marijuana legal for all adults and deliver an unprecedented blow to our nation’s wasteful, ineffective, and destructive prohibition on a plant less harmful than alcohol.

But you may not have heard that voters in a handful of other states will have opportunities to advance saner marijuana laws on Election Day, as well. Two states, Arizona and South Dakota, have medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot. A third, Oregon, will consider expanding its existing medical marijuana law by authorizing state-licensed dispensaries.

In Vermont and Connecticut, two prospective governors – Democrats Peter Shumlin and Dan Malloy, respectively – are campaigning as supporters of marijuana decriminalization. And voters in dozens of locales in California, Colorado, and Massachusetts will vote on their own local initiatives on various marijuana-related issues. In all, there may be more at stake for marijuana reform on November 2 than in any previous election.

But before a single vote tally is reported, it should be noted that — regardless of any results next week — 2010 might already go down in history as a major turning point in the government’s failed war on marijuana. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Pointless Marijuana Seizure Leads to Mass Murder

October 27th, 2010 36 Comments Morgan Fox

On Sunday, masked gunmen executed 13 people in a drug rehabilitation center in Tijuana, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego. Authorities now think these grisly murders may have been in retaliation for the massive marijuana bust that occurred there last week.

Whether the victims were actually involved in the seizure of 134 tons of marijuana destined for the U.S. is unknown, but in the end it makes no difference. It is clear that the tactics of marijuana prohibition are ineffective at producing anything besides shattered lives and dead bodies. Yet stories such as this are rarely heard in the debate for marijuana reform here in the U.S., despite the fact that it is our market for illicit substances that gives cartels the power to wage war on each other and the rest of society.

American law enforcement and politicians continue to support laws that cause death and mayhem across Mexico, perhaps because they don’t have to deal with the side effects of their choices in the same manner as their counterparts south of the border. When an entire police force quits on the same day rather than face further attack, there is obviously something wrong. But can you blame them?

The Rand Corporation released a study saying that Californian voters could take a bite out of the immense profits these murderers are making in their state by passing Proposition 19 on Tuesday. Regardless of any disagreement over just how big that bite would be, it is a moral imperative to cut into the cartel coffers in any way possible. Every dollar that is spent in a taxed and regulated marijuana market could contribute to California’s schools and health care, rather than ammo and blood.

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PPP Buries the Young Marijuana Voters Lede

October 26th, 2010 9 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Over the past month or so, there has been a mini-boomlet in coverage about the potential impact of marijuana initiatives on young voter turnout. Most notably, an article in the Wall Street Journal appeared earlier this month with the headline, “Democrats Look to Cultivate Pot Vote in 2012.”

With this as background, it was interesting to see this blog post by the polling firm PPP yesterday prior to today’s release of a survey on Proposition 19 in California, the initiative to tax and regulate marijuana in the state:

One of the big questions in California this year has been how big of an impact Proposition 19, the ballot proposal to legalize marijuana, will have on turnout in the state. In an effort to figure that out we asked respondents on our new survey there what on the ballot they were most excited about voting for: 39% said the Governor’s race, 26% the Senate race, 10% Prop 19, 4% one of the other props, 2% a local race, 1% their US House race, and 18% said they weren’t sure.

But this 10 percent figure did not appropriately convey the true impact of the initiative on voter turnout. If you examine the crosstabs provided by PPP today along with the full results of the survey (click on “here” at the end of the hyperlinked blog post), you will see that young voters – who are less likely to vote in a mid-term election – expressed much greater enthusiasm about Prop. 19. When voters 18-29 were asked which race they were most excited about a full 29 percent said Prop. 19!

Marijuana-related initiatives do inspire young voter turnout. The only question is whether progressives, who will generally benefit from this increased turnout, will take advantage of it politically.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

George Soros Donates $1 Million to Prop 19 Campaign

October 26th, 2010 17 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Today’s just-announced $1 million donation from philanthropist George Soros should help keep the Yes on 19 TV ad running through Election Day, as well as provide a tremendous boost to crucial get-out-the-vote efforts.

From Soros’s op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Like many parents and grandparents, I am worried about young people getting into trouble with marijuana and other drugs. The best solution, however, is honest and effective drug education. One survey after another indicates that teenagers have better access than most adults to marijuana—and often other drugs as well—and find it easier to buy marijuana than alcohol. Legalizing marijuana may make it easier for adults to buy marijuana, but it can hardly make it any more accessible to young people. I’d much rather invest in effective education than ineffective arrest and incarceration. […]

In many respects, of course, Proposition 19 already is a winner no matter what happens on Election Day. The mere fact of its being on the ballot has elevated and legitimized public discourse about marijuana and marijuana policy in ways I could not have imagined a year ago.

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Medical Marijuana

Andrew Cuomo, Likely New York’s Next Governor, Opposes Medical Marijuana

October 26th, 2010 21 Comments Kate Zawidzki

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who is generally thought of as a progressive, blindsided New Yorkers yesterday, when he publicly came out against medical marijuana legislation. Cuomo, who has admitted using marijuana recreationally in the past, said “the dangers on medical marijuana outweigh the benefits,” and compared legalizing proven medicine to legalizing prostitution. This is an incredibly disappointing move by AG Cuomo, who is out of touch with the medical community, and with the vast majority of his constituents.

If you live in New York, please help us reach out to AG Cuomo and explain why he is wrong for opposing compassionate medical marijuana legislation.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Yes on 19 Campaign Releases TV Ad

October 25th, 2010 7 Comments Kate Zawidzki

This TV ad hits California airwaves tomorrow — just in time for the Prop 19 campaign’s final stretch.

Learn how to reach out to voters here, find out other ways to help the campaign here, and read up on the latest polls here and here.

Only 8 more days until the election!

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Celebrities Join MPP in Promoting Prop 19

October 25th, 2010 15 Comments Kate Zawidzki

On Thursday of last week, I represented the Marijuana Policy Project in a historic press conference in Los Angeles, joining fellow panelists Melissa Etheridge, Danny Glover, Hal Sparks, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, and LEAP representative Steve Downing to endorse California’s Proposition 19, the measure to tax and regulate marijuana for adult use.  This was the first time world-renowned celebrities have spoken out in favor of Proposition 19, decrying the failed policy of prohibition.

Melissa Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor and medical marijuana patient, called on the federal government to authorize further research of marijuana’s medical applications.  Danny Glover talked about the prisoners he has seen, in the course of his lifetime of activism, who are locked up for non-violent marijuana offenses.  Gary Johnson cited our nations’ culture of incarceration, locking up more of our own people than any other industrialized nation.

At one point, a reporter asked the celebrities if they had been paid by the Proposition 19 campaign to deliver their endorsements.  They each replied “no” but then Hal Sparks offered this caveat, “I will benefit financially if Proposition 19 passes, in that my tax dollars will no longer be wasted on a policy that doesn’t work.”  So true!  The whole state will benefit to the tune of at least a billion dollars a year, the amount California currently spends enforcing marijuana prohibition.  (And that doesn’t include the tax revenue that would be generated!)

I closed my own statement by reading a quote from Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

Let’s be that courageous state.  Vote yes on Proposition 19!

(Pictured above, from left: Danny Glover, Melissa Etheridge, Hal Sparks, and MPP’s Sarah Lovering.)

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