A new survey confirms that an overwhelming majority of Rhode Island voters support legalizing marijuana for adults. The poll, commissioned by WPRI 12 and Roger Williams University and conducted by Fleming & Associates, found that 56% of respondents favor ending marijuana prohibition, while only 37% were against the idea. Another 7% were undecided.
Leaders in the General Assembly have consistently refused to allow legislators to vote on marijuana legalization in recent years. This new poll provides further evidence that these politicians are out of touch with the Rhode Island people.
Legal marijuana sales will start in Massachusetts any day now, and the new Rhode Island legislative session begins in January 2019. With the public solidly on the side of reform, there is no excuse for delay, and there is no excuse for the General Assembly to not vote on legalization in this upcoming year.
The Marijuana Policy Project and Regulate Rhode Island are planning to mobilize constituents and organize an effective campaign to call on the General Assembly to vote on a legalization bill during the upcoming session.
Stay tuned for more updates soon!
A new poll shows that 62% of New York voters support making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older. Only 28% are opposed. The poll, conducted by Emerson College and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation and the Drug Policy Alliance, is available here.
The poll also found that voters were far more supportive of legalizing and taxing marijuana than other options for addressing the state’s budget deficit. Sixty percent of respondents supported legalizing and taxing marijuana to help address New York’s budget deficit, with 28% opposed. Between 15% and 27% of voters supported each of the other options presented — increasing sales or income taxes, increasing tolls, or cutting public education or other services.
It’s time New York stop wasting resources punishing otherwise law-abiding residents for using a substance that is safer than alcohol. Let your lawmakers know voters want them to take marijuana off of the criminal market, so we can create good jobs, build the economy, and fund essential services.
New Yorkers have spoken clearly — it is time to legalize marijuana in the Empire State.
White House Comments on Marijuana Policy; Poll Finds 71% of U.S. Voters Want Feds to Respect State Marijuana Laws
Just hours after a national poll was released showing widespread support for marijuana policy reform and staunch opposition to federal interference in state marijuana laws, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer caused a stir by making some comments about marijuana enforcement during a press briefing.
Specifically, he reiterated President Trump's support for legal access to medical marijuana, noting that the current budget prohibits the Department of Justice from interfering in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. He said that recreational marijuana use is a different issue and suggested there would be "greater enforcement" of federal marijuana laws in states that have more broadly legalized marijuana. It was unclear what he meant the federal government would be interfering in such laws or simply stepping up enforcement against individuals who are violating them. President Trump said during his campaign that marijuana law should be left to the states.
MPP issued the following statement in response to Spicer's comments:
“The vast majority of Americans agree that the federal government has no business interfering in state marijuana laws. This administration is claiming that it values states’ rights, so we hope they will respect the rights of states to determine their own marijuana policies. It is hard to imagine why anyone would want marijuana to be produced and sold by cartels and criminals rather than tightly regulated, taxpaying businesses. Mr. Spicer says there is a difference between medical and recreational marijuana, but the benefits of and need for regulation apply equally to both.
“Mr. Spicer acknowledged that the Justice Department is currently prohibited from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. It is critical that Congress once again includes that provision in the next budget, and we are hopeful that they will also adopt a provision that extends that principle to all state marijuana laws.”
According to the Quinnipiac University Poll released earlier in the day, the vast majority of U.S. voters support making marijuana legal and think the federal government should respect state marijuana laws. The nationwide survey of 1,323 voters found that five out of seven voters (71%) — including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and every age group polled — oppose the government enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have made marijuana legal for medical or adult use.
The Quinnipiac poll also found that 93% of voters support allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes and 59% support making it legal for all purposes. The results appear to be in line with national polls released by Gallup and the Pew Research Center in October, which found support for ending marijuana prohibition at 60% and 57%, respectively.
In a survey released this week, Pew Research Center showed that 69% of police officers polled support allowing marijuana for medical or adult use, despite frequent opposition to sensible reforms from law enforcement organizations.
Washington Post reports:
The nationally representative survey of law enforcement, one of the largest of its kind, found that 32 percent of police officers said marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, while 37 percent said it should be legal for medical use only. An additional 30 percent said that marijuana should not be legal at all.
Police are more conservative than the general public on the issue. Among all Americans, Pew found that 49 percent supported recreational marijuana, 35 percent supported medical marijuana only, and 15 percent said the drug should not be legal.
Pew also found a generational divide among cops on the marijuana issue, although not as large as the one that exists among the general public. Officers under age 35 were more likely to support recreational marijuana (37 percent) than those between the ages of 50 and 60 (27 percent). Among the general public, those numbers stand at 67 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
Law enforcement groups have often been among the staunchest opponents of marijuana legalization measures. In 2016, such groups made small but significant contributions to oppose legalization measures in California and Arizona, citing concerns over issues such as underage use and intoxicated driving.
This trend is good news for marijuana policy reformers, as support for legalization increases among the people tasked with enforcing prohibition, and as younger cops move into leadership positions.
It should be noted that a Pew survey released in October showed that 57% of the general public supports making marijuana legal for adults, but that study had different sample sizes and methodology than the study just released.
Every year for nearly half a century, Gallup has conducted a poll to determine national support for making marijuana legal in the United States. The latest report shows the largest level of support in the history of the poll.
With voters in several states deciding this fall whether to legalize the use of marijuana, public support for making it legal has reached 60% -- its highest level in Gallup's 47-year trend.
Marijuana use is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia, and legalization measures are on the ballot in five more -- California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada -- this November. As a result, the percentage of Americans living in states where pot use is legal could rise from the current 5% to as much as 25% if all of these ballot measures pass.
When Gallup first asked this question in 1969, 12% of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana use. In the late 1970s, support rose to 28% but began to retreat in the 1980s during the era of the "Just Say No" to drugs campaign. Support stayed in the 25% range through 1995, but increased to 31% in 2000 and has continued climbing since then.
In 2013, support for legalization reached a majority for the first time after Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, a majority of Americans have continued to say they think the use of marijuana should be made legal.
A Pew Research Center poll released earlier in October showed national support at 57%, which was also a record for that survey.
A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows that a majority of Americans think that marijuana should be legal, and support is increasing.
Today, 57% of U.S. adults say the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 37% say it should be illegal. A decade ago, opinion on legalizing marijuana was nearly the reverse – just 32% favored legalization, while 60% were opposed.
The shift in public opinion on the legalization of marijuana has occurred during a time when many U.S. states are relaxing their restrictions on the drug or legalizing it altogether. In June, Ohio became the 25th state (plus Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico) to legalize marijuana in some form after Gov. John Kasich signed a medical marijuana program into law. This November, Americans in nine states will vote on measures to establish or expand legal marijuana use.
The same report released last year showed 53% support for legalization nationally.
State officials announced Wednesday that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.
After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.
Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.
According to a new poll released this week by the Maine People’s Resource Center, nearly 54% of likely voters would approve the initiative if the election were held today. Only about 42% said they would oppose it. The full results are available at here.
On Friday, even more evidence that most Americans no longer support marijuana prohibition was released.
Washington Post reports:
The survey uses the same question wording ("Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?") on marijuana as previous Gallup surveys, which had shown a previous high of 58 percent support for legalization last October.
The survey comes at a potential tipping point for drug reform. Next month, the United Nations will hold a special session in New York to re-evaluate the state of international drug laws. Many researchers and public health experts have been encouraging the UN to take a less-punitive approach to drug policy. Yesterday, a group of medical and public health experts urged governments to decriminalize all drug use and experiment with regulated drug markets in some cases.
A poll released Monday shows that the vast majority of likely Georgia voters support expanding the extremely limited medical marijuana law.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
The poll conducted on behalf of the newly formed Georgians for Freedom in Healthcare is part of that effort to show Georgians are comfortable with expanding the program — even if the governor isn’t.
The poll, conducted Nov. 29-30 by Atlanta-based Opinion Savvy, found 84.5 percent of likely 2016 Georgia primary voters somewhat to strongly supported allowing production and distribution of cannabis oil in Georgia.
Another 72.7 percent of respondents said they are somewhat to very confident law enforcement agencies could effectively police the law’s expansion — something law enforcement officials in Georgia have said they are still skeptical about.
Among other findings, 81.8 percent of respondents said they support expanding the list of illnesses now included in the program for the oil’s use. Another 61.5 percent said they somewhat to strongly support allowing the smoking of medical marijuana as a form of treatment. And 49.4 percent said they would at least somewhat support recreational use of marijuana in Georgia, although state lawmakers have said they have no appetite for allowing recreational use here.
Under the current law, there is no in-state production of medical marijuana, and what few patients are able to qualify for the program must risk arrest by obtaining their medicine in other states. Hopefully, the Governor and legislature will listen to the will of the people and not stand in the way of improving the law!
This past Monday, the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center of Goucher College released its Fall 2015 survey of Maryland residents. This latest poll continues to show majority support for “making the use of marijuana legal in Maryland”. The poll found that 52% of residents would support this policy change, with only 42% opposing. It also found that 64% of respondents think that marijuana policy should be left to the states (p. 19).
Just like Colorado and Washington, Maryland can responsibly bring the marijuana market above board by regulating production, distribution, and sales. Regulations will ensure a safe market where products are tested and accurately labeled for greater transparency and education. The state will also be able to realize tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue off marijuana sales — an activity that happens every single day across the state, despite prohibition.
If you are a Maryland resident, please email your delegates and state senator and ask them to support legislation in 2016 to treat marijuana like alcohol.