There have been a number of national surveys released over the last few months measuring the public’s support for marijuana legalization, confirming a majority of Americans continue to favor ending prohibition by legalizing and regulating marijuana.
While one of those polls (Gallup) did register an unexpected decline in support for legalization between 2013 and 2014 (a decline within the survey’s statistical margin of error, meaning it may not reflect an actual drop in support), the poll still found 51 percent support; and several other polls continue to find an increasing majority of the public nationwide support full legalization. And because of the demographics of this issue, that support should only continue to grow over the coming years.
General Social Survey
The most important of these latest surveys may be the General Social Survey, a national survey conducted every two years, that some consider the most reliable of the many national surveys. The survey involved interviews with 1,687 respondents between March and October of 2014, and found 52 percent support full legalization, with 42 percent opposed, and 7 percent undecided. This is the first time they have found majority support for full legalization, and the level of support represents a 9 point gain since they last asked the question in 2012.
GSS has been tracking support for legalization since 1974, when support stood at only 19 percent, before falling during the Reagan years to a low of 16 percent by 1990. Support has gradually climbed since 1990, although it was only at 32 percent as recently as 2006, rising 20 points in the last decade.
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center’s ongoing marijuana polling found 53 percent support nationwide for marijuana legalization in March of 2015, with 44 percent opposed. This includes 59 percent support among Democrats and 58 percent among self-described conservatives; but only 39 percent support among Republicans. Pew has recorded an astounding 11-point jump in support between the years of 2010 and 2013.
Sixty-nine percent of those polled believe alcohol is more harmful to the user than marijuana. And while 62 percent oppose public marijuana smoking, 82 percent have no problem if people smoke marijuana in their homes, and 57 percent say they would not be bothered if a marijuana store opened in their neighborhood.
Also, nearly half of all adults in the country (49 percent) say they have tried marijuana, with 12 percent using marijuana during the preceding year.
CBS News Poll
In a new poll released just before April 20, CBS News continued their periodic evaluation of the public support for legalizing marijuana, finding 53 percent of the public nationwide now favor ending prohibition, the highest level of support they have ever found. When CBS first surveyed the public in 1979, they found only 27 percent support. Revisiting the issue again starting in 2009, support levels had risen to 41 percent, finally reaching a slight majority (51 percent) by 2014. This latest finding is consistent with several other national polls.
Gallup first polled the American public about their support for legalizing marijuana in 1969, the year before NORML was founded, and determined the support level at only 12 percent. This number rose to 28 percent by 1977, before beginning a decline, falling to 23 percent by 1985. Support then again began to rise gradually over the next 25 years, until finally reaching 50 percent in 2011. Gallup found support peaking at 58 percent in 2013, before showing a decline to 51 percent in 2014. (Those numbers are within the 4 percent margin of error for their telephone survey of just over 1,000 respondents; and it is the only poll that has found a decline in support since 2013.)
Beyond the Beltway
Another recent survey of 1,032 interviews (with a margin of error of 3.05 percent), released in by Beyond the Beltway, a collaboration between the Benson Strategy Group and SKD Knickerbocker, found that 61 percent of the public currently support full legalization, with regulated sales as in Colorado and Washington, while 39 percent disagree. This is the highest national support level yet reported. Even 48 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of self-identified conservatives, said they support legalization. The support nationwide for eliminating the possibility of arrest and jail, and substituting a small fine, enjoyed the support of 72 percent.
A poll released in December of 2014 by a Washington, DC think tank called Third Way found support for full legalization at 50 percent, while 47 percent remained opposed. Interestingly, the poll also found 67 percent of those surveyed support Congress enacting a bill providing states the right to legalize marijuana without federal interference (the de facto Obama policy), establishing what they called a “safe haven” for those states wishing to move forward with legalization.
While 64 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of self-identified conservatives favored legalization, only 32 percent of Republicans agreed. The survey also confirmed a gender gap remains, with 52 percent of men supporting legalization, but only 45 percent of women.
Quinnipiac University Colorado Poll
A survey of 1,049 Colorado voters taken in February of 2015 shows that two years after Colorado voted to legalize marijuana, a solid majority of the public continue to support the new law. The survey found that 58 percent of Colorado voters support keeping pot legal, while 38 percent are opposed to the new law. There is no evidence of “buyers’ remorse” among the voters in Colorado.
The gender gap continues, with 63 percent of men in support, but only 53 percent (but still a majority) of women. The poll also found the usual generational gap, with 82 percent of voters ages 18-34 favoring it, while only 46 percent support among those 55 and above.
Survey USA Colorado Poll
After a year of legalized marijuana in Colorado, in a survey conducted for the Denver Post by Survey USA and released in late December 2014, 90 percent of those who had initially voted for legalization in 2012 would still do so today; and 95 percent of those who opposes the initiative would still oppose it today. Amendment 54 passed with 55 percent support.
Interestingly 12 percent of those interviewed said friends or family visiting from out of state had asked to visit a recreational marijuana shop. Twenty-two percent of respondents reported they currently use marijuana, with 70 percent of those saying their level of use had remained the same since the new law took effect. Seventy-eight percent of respondents ranked smoking marijuana as their favorite method of use; while 15 percent favored “vaping”, and 5 percent favored edibles.
Forty-five percent of current users say they get their marijuana from a recreational dispensary; 24 percent from a medical dispensary; 18 percent from a friend; 7 percent grow their own; and 6 percent continue to rely on a black-market dealer.
Because of the small numbers of voters asked their views on marijuana (175), the poll has a 6-7 percent margin of error.
Quinnipiac University Poll in Three Swing States
According to a March 2015 poll by Quinnipiac University, marijuana legalization is likely to become a crucial issue in three swing states in the 2016 presidential elections. Fifty-one percent of Pennsylvanians, 52 percent of Ohioan and 55 percent of Floridians report they favor legalization, a level of support higher than that registered for any of the current presidential candidate, including Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Mario Rubio and Ted Cruz.
As any legitimate pollster will tell you, this data is accurate within a statistical range, depending on the number of people polled and the method of polling. So it is not perfectly precise data by any means, and is at best a snapshot of support at a particular moment. But it is nonetheless valuable as a gauge over time as to which direction the country is headed on a particular issue, and with marijuana legalization, support remains strong and the direction appears headed even higher.
Colorado’s Senate has given unanimous approval to Senate Bill 196, a proposal to establish a certified hemp seed program. The bill was passed with unanimous support, 35 to 0.
Senate Bill 196 would establish a hemp seed program through the state’s Department of Agriculture, which would allow farmers to apply with the Department to receive hemp seeds, which they could then use for industrial hemp farming.
According to proponents of the bill, a lack of legally available methods of obtaining hemp seeds has preventing most farmers from cultivating the crop. The Colorado Department of Agriculture has already received approval from the DEA to import hemp seeds, which would be used to supply the seed program.
The measure, which can be found by clicking here, has been sent to the House for consideration. Its passage in the House will put it on Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk.
The post Colorado Senate Unanimously Passes Bill to Establish Hemp Seed Program appeared first on The Joint Blog.
The production and cultivation of industrial hemp became legal in Tennessee on July 1st of last year, thanks to legislation approved by lawmakers – and signed by the state’s governor – earlier that year. The law allows farmers to legally cultivate hemp – defined as having 0.3% THC or less – so long as they register with the Department of Agriculture.
Approval from the DEA will allow Tennessee to legally import hemp seeds, which can then be distributed to farmers.
According to recent congressional research, the United States imports roughly half a billion dollars in hemp from other countries, primarily China and Canada. The same research estimates the hemp market to consist of over 25,000 various products.
The post Tennessee Receives Approval from DEA to Import Hemp Seeds appeared first on The Joint Blog.
By Anthony Martinelli, Editor, TheJointBlog.com
Before TheJointBlog launched as a daily cannabis news site in January, 2013, I served as the Campaign Manager for then-Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove, who’s now on the King County Council, and worked on his political action committee, which purpose is to help elect progressive candidates. During the 2012 election, I spent well over 100 hours – mostly volunteer, though some paid (by the before-mentioned PAC) – helping to get Jay Inslee elected as governor. I believe he generally has strong values, and some great policy positions. But after the signing of Senate Bill 5052, he’s lost my support, and won’t be receiving my time, nor my vote, when running for reelection next year.
I, along with most politically-minded individuals, understand the dangers of single-issue voting. Typically, it’s a bad idea to support or oppose a candidate based on one particular issue. However, the impact that Senate Bill 5052 will have on some of the sickest people in our state – and the clear warning signs that were put forth by countless opponents – make it clear that Governor Inslee is not the right man to lead Washington State.
For those that aren’t aware, Senate Bill 5052 was signed by Governor Inslee on Friday, a day notoriously used for signing potentially controversial legislation, as it will hit the weekend news cycle when less people are paying attention. The proposal will require every medical cannabis dispensary in the state to close by July 1st, 2016. This will put an end to thousands of jobs, in addition to drastically decreasing safe access for patients, who will be required to purchase from recreational cannabis outlets (despite most cities in the state prohibiting them) or rely on the black-market.
Even worse, the bill will make felons overnight out of potentially thousands of patients by reducing their possession limits from twenty ounces, to three, and their cultivation limits from fifteen plants, to six. Patients caught possessing between three and twenty four ounces, or caught growing between seven and fifteen plants – which is legal today – will be committing class C felonies once the law takes effect, and could be imprisoned for up to 5 years. This change is completely disgraceful, and is being made without any legitimate reason (the limits have been in place for roughly 15 years, with no one in the public calling for a change).
Under Senate Bill 5052, patients who don’t join a patient database will only be allowed to possess an ounce, and cultivate up to four plants. Those who do will be placing their name and address on a government-operated list admitting to committing a federal crime. This is in clear violation of federal HIPAA laws, and is also entirely discriminatory as the use of no other medicine requires entry into a database.
Frankly, the entire bill is a disaster, and I’m in complete shock that Governor Inslee would support it (you can find which legislators voted yes by clicking here). The fact that he would sign it into law makes it clear that he does not have the best interest of the public – especially those with serious, debilitating conditions – in mind. He needs to be unelected to make it clear to him and other politicians that unnecessary and devastating legislation such as this will not be tolerated.
I don’t know who it is that will run against Governor Inslee in 2016, and I certainly don’t know if they’ll have my support, but I do know one thing for sure; Governor Inslee no longer does.
The post Why Governor Jay Inslee Lost My Support After Signing Senate Bill 5052 appeared first on The Joint Blog.
Global Cannabis March - First Saturday in May - Worldwide http://willienelson.com/story/a-peaceful-solution-to-world-peace From: RestoreHemp Views: 34 4 ratings Time: 04:32 More in Education
GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Shona Banda says she has used cannabis oil since 2009 to treat her Crohn's disease. Banda insists she never put her 11 year old in danger. The boy remains in protective... From: Regulate Marijuana Views: 3 4 ratings Time: 02:09 More in Nonprofits & Activism
GARDEN CITY, Kansas – Shona Banda says she has used cannabis oil since 2009 to treat her Crohn's disease. Banda insists she never put her 11 year old in danger. The boy remains in protective... From: Regulate Marijuana Views: 28 6 ratings Time: 06:51 More in Nonprofits & Activism
Drug Enforcement Administration head Michele Leonhart is stepping down, US Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed.
Members of the US House Oversight Committee gave Leonhart a vote of “no confidence” last week after an Office of the Inspector General report revealed that senior DEA officials had participated in sex parties arranged by Colombian drug cartels and had also received weapons and cash from cartel members. None of the agents involved were fired by director Leonhart.
Michele Leonhart began serving as the agency’s acting director in November 2007 before being confirmed as DEA administrator in 2010.
Leonhart had consistently taken a hardline stance against any change in marijuana policy. Early in her tenure she oversaw dozens of federal raids on medical marijuana providers and producers in states that had legalized the plant. She set aside a verdict from the agency’s own administrative law judge that sought to expand and facilitate clinical research into marijuana as a medicine and she rejected an administrative petition calling for marijuana rescheduling hearings. She openly criticized remarks made by the President acknowledging cannabis’ relative safety compared to alcohol, and criticized the administration’s efforts to allow states to implement limited regulatory schemes for the retail production and sale of cannabis to adults. In public testimony, Leonhart refused to acknowledge whether she believed that crack cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin posed greater risks to health than marijuana — instead opining, “All illegal drugs are bad.”
Ms. Leonhart also actively opposed hemp law reform during her time as DEA director. She criticized a decision to fly a hempen flag over the Capitol, saying it was “her lowest point in 33 years in the DEA.” Last year, her agency unlawfully seized 250 pounds of legal hemp seeds destined for Kentucky’s state Agricultural Department.
Always a true believer in the drug war no matter what the costs, in 2009 she described increased southern border violence as a sign of the “success” of her agency’s anti-drug strategies.
Michele Leonhart is expected to leave the agency in mid-May.
The majority of Americans say that marijuana is safer than alcohol and believe that its use should be legal, according to nationwide polling data compiled by CBS News.
Fifty-three percent of respondents answered ‘yes’ to the question, “Should marijuana use be legal?” That is the highest level of support ever recorded by CBS pollsters since they began posing the question in 1979. Forty-three percent of respondents opposed legalization.
Males, younger voters, and Democrats were most likely to support marijuana’s legalization. Seventy-four percent of those who acknowledged having tried marijuana said that the plant ought to be legalized, compared to just 35 percent who have never used it.
The majority of respondents (51 percent) agreed that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol. Only 12 percent of respondents said they believed that marijuana was more harmful than booze, while 28 percent said that both substances were equally harmful.
Forty-three percent of respondents acknowledged having consumed marijuana, an increase of nine percent since 1997. Seventy-five percent of respondents said that it would not matter to them if a Presidential candidate admitted having tried it.
On the question of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, 84 percent of respondents supported allowing physicians to authorize cannabis therapy to their patients.
The CBS News poll is the latest in a series of national surveys showing majority support for legalizing and regulating marijuana.
The Sindicate perform for the crowd at the Global Cannabis March in downtown Portland in Pioneer Courthouse Square on May 3, 2014. Footage: Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) From: RestoreHemp Views: 19 3 ratings Time: 02:54 More in Education
Study: Oral Cannabis Extracts Associated With Seizure Control In Children With Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy
The administration of oral cannabis extracts is associated with the mitigation of seizures in adolescents with epilepsy, according to clinical data published this month in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior.
Researchers from the Colorado Children’s Hospital in Denver performed a retrospective chart review of 75 children provided cannabis extracts. Authors reported that 57 percent of subjects showed some level of improvement in seizure control while 33 percent reported a greater than 50 percent reduction in seizure frequency.
Researchers also reported “improved behavior/alertness” in one-third of subjects and improved motor skills in ten percent of treated patients. Adverse events were reported in 44 percent of subjects, 13 percent of which reported increased seizure activity. Overall, however, authors concluded that the extracts were “well tolerated by children.”
Separate clinical trial results publicized last week at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology reported that the administration of a proprietary form of CBD (cannabidiol) extracts decreased seizure frequency by 54 percent over a 12-week period in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Survey data compiled by Stanford University in 2013 reported that the administration of cannabidiol-enriched cannabis decreased seizures in 16 of 19 patients with pediatric epilepsy.
Last February, the Epilepsy Foundation of America enacted a resolution in support of the “rights of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician directed care, including medical marijuana.”
An abstract of the study, “Parental reporting of response to oral cannabis extracts for treatment of refractory epilepsy,” appears online here.
Our friends at High Times have launched a new campaign to call national attention to the next logical step in the country’s progression towards marijuana legalization: Freeing America’s Pot Prisoners
While the federal government has relaxed its stance on marijuana, allowing states to implement their own laws and no longer prosecuting businesses running in accordance with these laws, the status of those persecuted under old laws remains ignored. High Times’ petition calls for a rectification between the United States’ past marijuana laws and the current situation.
“President Obama recently commuted 20-odd prisoners serving life for a first time drug offense,” says CEO of Trans High Corporation and volunteer lawyer for “Lifers for Pot” Michael Kennedy. “Nineteen of them were convicted of coke and meth crimes… clearly much more serious misdeeds than pot dealing, but the big O only commuted one marijuana lifer. While we at High Times totally support these commutations, we have to press the President to look more closely at our Lifers For Pot and free them forthwith!”
The petition urges Attorney General Holder, as well as the Attorney General Designate, to recommend for the immediate release of all non-violent marijuana offenders and to provide new sentencing guidelines to give law enforcement other options besides imprisoning non-violent offenders. In 2013, 693,482 people were arrested for a marijuana law violation and of those, 609,423 (88 percent) were charged only with possession.
Even in California, where marijuana prisoners are beginning to be released, 482 non-violent marijuana offenders remain in prison, which is not only a high human cost but a huge cost to taxpayers. For this reason, High Times is soliciting Attorney General Kamala Harris to act as an example for the other 49 states by immediately releasing these prisoners and recommending alternatives to incarceration for the use, sale, and cultivation of marijuana.
Some non-violent marijuana prisoners, such as Antonio Bascaró and Jeff Mizanskey, have been imprisoned for non-violent offenses for much of their lives. Both fear perishing in prison without seeing a country swept with marijuana reform. High Times hopes this petition can change the fates of these two men and the others still imprisoned for non-violent marijuana crimes.
Recreational marijuana is now legal in four states and the District of Columbia, medical use is legal in 24 others and 58 percent of Americans are in favor of legalized, regulated marijuana. This change in American perspective on marijuana, High Times argues, is the exact reason why non-violent offenders should be released.
High Times’ petition is found at http://bit.ly/420Freedom.
Signers are asked to spread word of the petition using #FreePotPrisoners across social media.
As Joe Cocker famously pleaded in 1969 at Woodstock, "Let’s go get stoned."
Happy 4/20 to marijuana smokers throughout the land. Today is our annual holiday, an occasion to celebrate all things related to marijuana and marijuana smoking.
I am delighted to be spending my day at the High Times Denver Cannabis Cup, the largest of all the cannabis celebrations each April 20th, where NORML has a booth each year, and where we have the opportunity to meet and greet thousands of other marijuana aficionados. If you are in Denver, please do stop by our booth today and introduce yourself.
Legalizing marijuana is serious business, and it requires the cumulative, ongoing effort of thousands of hard-working, committed citizen-activists to end prohibition and change state and federal policies that have been in place for more than 75 years. More than 700,000 Americans continue to be arrested each year on marijuana charges, needlessly damaging the lives and careers of these otherwise law-abiding citizens who prefer to smoke marijuana when they relax in the evening, just as millions of other Americans enjoy a beer or a glass of wine when they relax. And certainly the need to stop arresting responsible marijuana smokers must remain our top priority.