So much depends on how you ask the question. Widely publicized 4/20 poll actually shows majority support for drug reforms
As with many instances in politics, actuality can often be obscured behind the wrong frame: ask a question just the right way and results can be wildly tilted, one way or another.
Take the case of an Associated Press/CNBC poll released on April 20, 2010, detailing Americans’ opinions on legalizing marijuana. The poll was widely reported as declaring that 55 percent in the U.S. are opposed to ending prohibition.
Make no mistake, “oppose” is exactly what 55 percent of the people said when asked: “Do you favor, oppose or neither favor nor oppose the complete legalization of the use of marijuana for any purpose?”
However, a more nuanced probing of the issue, carried out by the polling firm but almost entirely unmentioned in the media on April 20th, found that when stacked next to alcohol, often a more debilitating and addictive substance, statistical support for drug law reforms skyrocketed.
Some entertainment for you from Ethan Epstein
The Drug War Does Not Cause Drug Violence. Drug Dealers Cause Drug Violence. In this one, the author claims that the very nature of drugs means that those who sell them will be violent, regardless of whether they are legal. A truly unique, and absurd, proposition.
Opponents of the Drug War Are Manipulating Statistics This was a surprising title for me, since it’s actually the prohibitionists who usually manipulate statistics, but he’s got a straw man to sell you:
Opponents of the Drug War rely on a few central claims in arguing for the legalization of drugs. One is that â€œthe Drug War is causing violence in Mexicoâ€ â€“ a tendentious argument that I examined in this space yesterday. Another is that â€œprohibition has failed,â€ and that therefore we should stop criminalizing drug use. (Iâ€™ll take this up at a later date.) But perhaps the most oft-heard claim is that drugs are â€œless dangerousâ€ than tobacco and alcohol. Drug War opponents make this claims armed with reams of statistics. Alas, they are misreading and misrepresenting the data at hand.
â€œHard drugs are less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.â€ (Weâ€™ll leave marijuana out of this for now.) This claim is a mainstay of the anti-Drug War arsenal of arguments.
He then fails to cite a single instance where reformers actually claim that.
Like hip-hop, health food and snowboarding, marijuana is going corporate.
As more and more states allow medical use of the drug, and California considers outright legalization, marijuanaâ€™s supporters are pushing hard to burnish the image of pot by franchising dispensaries and building brands; establishing consulting, lobbying and law firms; setting up trade shows and a seminar circuit; and constructing a range of other marijuana-related businesses.
For years, there’ve been anecdotal reports about people using cannabis to quit harder drugs. The process is called â€œsubstitutionâ€, and it’s a tactic that’s beginning to be endorsed by the â€œharm reductionâ€ philosophy of mental health. Janichek says the philosophy of harm reduction is most popularly associated with needle exchanges, condom disbursement, ecstasy pill testing, and seat belt laws. Harm reduction accepts that some people will engage in risky behavior, and therefore clinicians should seek to reduce the harms associated with such risks. That might include endorsing a little pot over a lot of OxyContin.
More at NORML
Dismantling the 5 Big Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists by DPA’s Tony Newman and Stephen Gutwillig
DrugSense Weekly – a weekly review of the most interesting or relevant articles in the press and on the web related to drug policy reform.
Drug War Chronicle – weekly update of drug war news and analysis from Stop the Drug War.org.
This is an Open Thread