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.
On April 28, 2014, Quinnipiac University released poll data showing that Coloradans still “feel good” about legalizing marijuana. With a 14 percent margin (52-38 percent), voters believe marijuana legalization has been beneficial for the state, and, when asked about whether legalization “eroded the moral fiber” of people in Colorado, voters resounding replied with 67 percent disagreeing and only 30 percent agreeing.
"Colorado voters are generally good to go on grass, across the spectrum, from personal freedom to its taxpayer benefits to its positive impact on the criminal justice system," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
The poll also found voters aged 18-29 support legalization at a margin of 2-to-1, but, surprisingly, the same age group said they have not smoked marijuana since it became legal on January 1 at the same 2-to-1 margin.
The Quinnipiac poll’s results were collected April 15-21, via telephone survey, from 1,298 registered voters with a margin of error at plus or minus 2.7 points. Live interviewers called landlines and cell phones.
A new poll by Quinnipiac University reveals that 82% of Florida voters support medical marijuana. Florida advocates are currently pushing for legislation that would allow seriously ill residents to use marijuana with a recommendation from their doctors.
Support for the proposed constitutional amendment is high among voters of every political stripe, age and income level, with independents lending the most support: 88 percent, the poll shows.
The overall 82-16 percent support for medical marijuana is the biggest to date. The previous high-point for Florida approval was about 70 percent in a poll taken earlier this year by the medical marijuana advocacy group, People United for Medical Marijuana.
Nearly half of Florida voters favor [legalization] -- 48 percent -- while 46 percent oppose pot legalization for personal use. That's within the margin of error, but it's a leading indicator of a shift in public opinion. Support for legalization is again strongest among independents (57-37 percent), and then Democrats (55-39 percent).
But Republicans are opposed 30-64 percent. Contrast that with GOP voter support for medical marijuana is solid: 70-26 percent.
Medical marijuana is a contentious subject in Florida, where seniors and patients have been working diligently to educate voters and gather support. The political establishment has noticed, and the placement of medical marijuana on the November 2014 ballot could influence the gubernatorial race.