Strong support for legalization

Another poll:

THIS week’s Economist-YouGov poll contains some exciting news for devotees of the weed. A huge majority of Americans, more than two to one once don’t knows have been excluded, support the legalisation and taxation of marijuana. Even without excluding the don’t knows, a clear majority favours treating the drug equivalently to tobacco and alcohol.

The data (see chart) reveal some interesting patterns. In every age group, more people favour than oppose legalisation. Predictably enough, the young are very strongly in favour, but babyboomers are almost as strongly so; and even those over 65 are narrowly in favour as well. Breaking the poll down by party, one finds that Republicans as well as Democrats are in favour, though the former much more narrowly so.

If our poll is right, then it can only be a matter of time before laws start to change, at least in the more liberal states.


[Thanks, Tom]
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33 Responses to Strong support for legalization

  1. richard gher says:

    LOL this has just been proven to be a complete hoaxs of a poll sorry reefer heads better luck next time. remember just think twice.america knows prohibitian work then and it does now,respect that and shut up junkies

  2. Duncan20903 says:

    Darn if it isn’t amazing how the median IQ of the Know Nothing prohibitionists has just dropped off of a cliff. Geronimo! indeed.

    So it looks like the Montana House is going to vote to repeal medical cannabis. They say the State Senate isn’t as enthusiastic and just wants to make the sick and suffering jump through a number of hoops. The quadriplegics need the exercise, just sitting around all day like they do.

    The Republicans are saying the voters of Montana are incompetent idiots and are easily scammed by silver tongued confidence men Unfortunately I think that just having pushed this as far as its gotten proves the politicians correct in that assertion. After all the same voters elected these clowns.

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  4. C.E. says:

    The “don’t knows” look like a pretty important bunch of people right now–they could easily shift it to “against.” But I’m pleasantly surprised. What we learned from Proposition 19, however, is that it is important to keep the drum-beat of anti-prohibition going. The Government has enormous public relation resources available, and they just have to turn on the spigot a little to shift the balance of opinion.

  5. vicky vampire says:

    Your so right CE, The government can turn on spigot when it suits them,
    Things look good then in a few weeks or months,something weird and all hell breaks everyone gets temperamental.
    I’m sort of optimistic.

  6. Outlier says:

    This poll is tantalizing but seems slightly misleading. While the public has been been shifting its view rather quickly recently (According to Gallup 36% to 46% in the last 4 years), the phrasing of the question and the possible answers favor legalization more than the way this poll question is typically asked. The actual question is “Some people say marijuana should be treated like alcohol and tobacco. They say it should be regulated and taxed and made illegal for minors. Do you agree?” This wording is probably the most favorable you can get for a legalization question. For one it never uses the word “legalize”. It also begins with the comparison to regulating alcohol and tobacco which is a favorable comparison. It also includes the bit about making it illegal for minors which I’ve never seen included before since its currently illegal for everybody along with minors under the status quo. While this would presumably be a part of any legalization ballot initiative or proposed legislation, the public doesn’t generally consider it with its voting behavior (at least on Prop 19 and the Colorado initiative). Last the poll allows five choices based on your level of agreement. That said this poll is still extremely promising and shows that strength of the legalization argument with the public. Hopefully more pollsters will start including legalization questions in their surveys so we can get a better understanding of where the public is in various states and at the national level.

  7. Duncan20903 says:

    Outlier, quite frankly the way they worded the poll is exactly what I’d have implemented if I could snap my fingers and make it so. I don’t want to see unfettered legalization. I don’t want school children to get their hands on it. I want to get it out of their hands.

    But I can make the question just a little more optimal:

    Some people say marijuana should be treated like alcohol and tobacco. They say it should be regulated and taxed and made illegal for minors under the age of 21. Do you agree?

    Here’s a detailed break out of the “hoaxs” poll numbers. Boy they sure went to a lot of trouble to make it seem real.

    Page 42:

    Lots of other poll numbers too. Numbers crunchers and those with a statistics fetish, enjoy!

  8. Outlier says:


    I agree 100%. I’m just trying to put the numbers into context. Perception is often reality and most voters laser in on the legalization element of the initiative even though they are about relegalizing, taxing, and regulating. Pretty much every poll on this issue has used the question “Do you support legalizing marijuana?” or more recently “Do you support legalizing, taxing, and regulating, marijuana?”. The difference between those wordings makes a significant difference in the poll results even though they are technically the same thing. It’s like asking “Do you support welfare?” vs “Do you support aid to the poor?”. Technically the same thing but totally different poll results. Our goal should be to get more voters do view the issue just as this poll question asks it rather than simply “legalize it”.

  9. Sukoi says:

    Apparently many congresscritters agree… privately:

  10. DdC says:

    “Marihuana” is a very dangerous drug and even small amounts can cause hysteria, bed wetting and strokes among members of drug free America cults. If legalized their heads could potentially explode.

    Here comes Grubbs Barthwell and Bayer while Ganja and Hemp remain for the outlaws. Hummm sounds familiar…

    “Is The DEA Legalizing THC?”

    So, in other words, if a pharmaceutical product contains THC extracted from the marijuana plant, that would be a legal commodity. But if you or I possessed THC extracted from the marijuana plant, that would remain an illegal commodity.

    Wait, it gets even more absurd.

    Since the cannabis plant itself will remain illegal under federal law, then from whom precisely could Big Pharma legally obtain their soon-to-be legal THC extracts? There’s only one answer: The federal government’s lone legally licensed marijuana cultivator, The University of Mississippi at Oxford, which already has the licensing agreements with the pharmaceutical industry in hand.

    Oh but it ain’t fascism…

  11. pfroehlich2004 says:

    Regardless of whether this poll is 100% correct, we are definitely close to majority support nationwide.

    More importantly, we have the numbers to start making a significant impact in the 2012 primary elections -IF WE START ORGANIZING NOW!!!

    As of last April, only 18% of Americans said they supported the Tea Party Movement, yet the Tea Partiers had a massive impact on the Republican primaries. They won a few and where they lost, they still succeeded in pushing their primary opponents further to the right.

    Gallup had support for marijuana legalization at 46% (!!!) last October. If we organize for the 2012 primaries the same way we organized for the Prop 19 campaign, we can knock off some Prohib candidates and scare the shit out of the rest.

  12. This is not my American says:

    Humm.. someone here still doesnt get it. Its not whether the numbers say they want it legalized…its about the right to choose and own ones body…. isnt that right richard.

    Theres just something about that constitutional right to freedom some can’t understand.

  13. malcolm kyle says:

    It’s not at all surprising that when worded correctly the majority agree that legalized regulation is the best option.
    Any campaign that leaves out the word “regulation” is pretty lame.

    Even cows know that prohibition is a dangerous scam!

  14. darkcycle says:

    Numbers only count (ha!) if they can be translated into pressure. And large groups only count if the Pols are convinced they’ll actually VOTE. Prop 19, I hate to say it, was a dud. It brought out some new voters but not enough to make a difference. Not in that vote, mind you, but in the political calculations of the cynical Pols going forward.
    They’ll feel that pressure when their positions on prohibition start costing them their jobs.

    • pfroehlich2004 says:

      ‘Numbers only count (ha!) if they can be translated into pressure. And large groups only count if the Pols are convinced they’ll actually VOTE.’

      That’s exactly my point darkcycle. We are a large group and it’s time to translate that into pressure.

      Proposition 19 got 4.6 million votes. The total number of votes cast in the California primary elections in 2010 was less than 7 million. If all Prop 19 supporters had participated in the primary election, voting against any candidate that failed to publicly declare support for legalization, Prohib heads would have rolled en masse and state representatives would now be falling over themselves to co-sponsor Tom Ammiano’s legalization bill.

      Primary elections typically get much lower turnout than general elections, so even a minority group can sway the results if they are motivated and organized. We are a majority in some places and a very large minority in others. I think we need to take a page from the Tea Party and crash the 2012 primaries. This will put a lot of legislators on notice.

  15. darkcycle says:

    Does it seem the trolls are dumber today? Prohibitian?

    • denmark says:

      Cannabinoid deficiencies of the brain.
      Prohibitionists drink too much scotch.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Nah, the smarter ones have seen the writing on the wall and either quit caring or defected entirely from the dark side. The only ones left are the congenitally stupid and/or the ones that can’t read and write the English language, or even the American variant. I’m not sure why the latter’s voice enabled word processors misspell so many words, but there you go.

  16. Duncan20903 says:

    More fun with bootleggers in countries with drinking alcohol prohibition.

    Well at least the US isn’t the only country in the world to roust the handicapped:

    Bootleggers diversify into illegal construction, city officials prefer being bribed to enforcing the building code:

    A corrupt recidivist cop and his gun moll get popped:

    SURAT: A cop and his wife were caught carrying 249 bottles of Indian-made foreign liquor in their Honda City car.

    “Assistant sub-inspector Rajendra Patel, posted at Surat police headquarters, had been caught ferrying liquor earlier too, in 2003.

    Patel was returning from Daman and was intercepted at Vapi following a tip-off. Both husband and wife were arrested and sent to judicial custody for liquor trafficking.

    The police was shocked to know that Patel was working for a bootlegger operating in Varachha area of the city. During investigation, it came to light that Patel owned the car and lived in the upmarket Ghod Dod Road area.

    There have been many instances when junior police officials have been booked for bootlegging. ”

    Wow, who’da thunk there was so much going on in organized criminal bootlegging? I can honestly say I’m shocked. Yes indeed, these stories are from February 2011. Simply fascinating.

  17. Dante says:

    DdC said:
    “If legalized their heads could potentially explode.”

    You have no idea how much money I would pay to see just that.

  18. Duncan20903 says:

    Put me down for ringside seats Dante!

    I think we need to take a page from the Tea Party and crash the 2012 primaries. This will put a lot of legislators on notice.

    Well, I guess I can register as a Republican if everybody else does so. But the funny thing is it will likely work better in the blue States, the bluer the better. I think only about 30 people vote in the DC Republican primary. Anyway, we do have a candidate on our side. Let’s get him nominated, I’m all for it. Johnson/Paul 2012? Mr. yOmama probably has the Democratic nomination wrapped up.

    Republican Gary Johnson: ‘It’s time to legalize marijuana’

    Who’da thunk the first one could be a Republicrat? OK there’s me, anyone else?

    • darkcycle says:

      Ah, Duncan, the “Tea Party” crashing was endorsed by big business and the Koch brothers. If someone else tries it w/o permission, they’re treated to a jail cell by the FBI. Google “FBI targets peace activists” and or go to the Firedog lake archives and see what happens to non-sanctioned protesters. (I may be able to stay w/ the thread today after all)

    • pfroehlich2004 says:


      Actually, I was thinking of the Democratic primaries as there is already majority support for marijuana legalization among registered Democrats (although it would be great to have some pro-legalization Republicans running as well). I was not implying that we should adopt Tea Party political positions, but rather their tactics.

      There are primary elections for all levels of government, from the president down to the state legislatures. I think trying to influence the presidential primaries would a colossal waste of time. What I think we should be doing is focusing on primary elections for the state legislatures, e.g. every Illinois legislator (or at least all the Democrats) who failed to support this session’s medical mj bill should face a primary challenge. Winning a couple of primary challenges in multiple states would put other legislators on notice that opposing reform is a career-ender.


      By ‘crashing’ I did not mean protesting but rather participating in unexpectedly large numbers. There is nothing remotely illegal about this. All registered voters are allowed to participate in the primary elections of their respective parties. I have never heard of the FBI targeting Democrats for voting in their own primary.

      • darkcycle says:

        Protesting is SUPPOSED to be part of protected free speech. I was pointing out that that right doesn’t exist anymore.

  19. vicky vampire says:

    The DEA are Fraking idiots and Evil, The whole Marijuana plant needs to be used to get full health Benefit,
    Yes some good quality Vitamins,minerals, and Natural Bio-Identical hormones work wonderful,but with out a diet high in fresh vegetables and fruit it will not give full health compliment.
    The same with Wine and grapes you can take supplement that has protective antioxidants,flavinoids,Revesteral and many other protective antioxidants,but many Doctors still recommend eating the grapes and drinking the wine to get the full benefits not just popping a pill.
    The same with Cannabis the you can take a pill, which maybe somewhat healthy but its better to use the whole plant in smoking,vaporizing,cooking with it and juicing it also.
    There seems to be an all out deal lately with the government to get folks to eat healthily all around but the main powerful tools used for that Health are controversial like Alcohol,Marijuana,Bio-Identical Hormones those because of addiction and other rick factors are applauded and at same time treated like your insane for using yes even alcohol is treated with no tolerance policies for young under 21 I say educate young and let them drink moderately for health benefits.
    I know these folks only look at control and their protecting you from yourself,I see everything has wonderful health, and for that we are Health political prisoners in an insane country that over reacts to what other see as normal Health and its all for greed,power and money.

  20. aq4ha34ha4 says:

    “Half Of What We Spend On Law Enforcement Is Drug Related” Gary Johnson CPAC Speech

    keep an eye on your TV set Pete…

  21. This is not my American says:

    I found this while searching for laws concerning meth. As you can plainly see, they fail to mention that their laws on buying cold medicine has created a new black market for sales of pseudophedrine. Those who wish to make meth will pay much more than store prices to obtain it.not only that, now there is a much easier way to make it. Of course theres no comments page , but I think people should write senator Grassley and inform him of the omissions on his page.

    In the U.S. Senate, I serve as the Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary and the Co-Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. I led the effort to pass the Combat Meth Act in 2005. It limits the amount of meth precursor drugs, such as pseudoephedrine, that a customer can buy and requires pharmacies to keep written or electronic logbooks recording each purchase of the drugs. To supplement the Combat Meth Act, Senator Diane Feinstein of California and I cosponsored clarifying legislation in 2009. It requires distributors of meth precursor chemicals to certify that they distribute products only to retailers that comply with the 2005 law. I also cosponsored the Methamphetamine Production Prevention Act, which became law in 2008. It allows states to develop uniform reporting, via the use of electronic tracking systems for the sale of meth precursor chemicals. This is information law enforcement officials can use to help stop the manufacture of meth.

  22. Duncan20903 says:

    @This is not my American — hush up, you’re just going to encourage them to find out what the unintended consequences of making it a prescription drug would be. These people don’t admit mistakes and repeal, they take it as a sign they didn’t get “tough” enough. That’s why I’ve started my campaign to re-criminalize drinking alcohol.
    Go vote. Poll Question (copy & pasted):

    “Was it been a good idea or a bad idea for Massachusetts to make possession of less than an ounce of marijuana not a crime?”

    Good idea 64%

    Bad idea 35%

    Total votes: 196

  23. Chris says:

    Saying “legalize, tax and regulate” instead of just “legalize” isn’t misleading. It’s saying we would rather follow the alcohol/tobacco model opposed to the non-existent, free market one for say, caffeine. Which, naturally, more people are going to agree with. Imagine the same question being asked for other drugs:

    “Would you support legalizing and therefore controlling, taxing and regulating heroin/cocaine sales?”

    This implies that we will raise money to use against abuse. Regulation means actually controlling sales and manufacture of the drugs, including profits and purity. Compare that to:

    “Would you support legalizing heroin/cocaine?”

    Which could mean anything from the scariest scenario imaginable (hey kids, joe camel says heroin is the next cool thing to do!) to the actual tax and regulate model. They might as well start phrasing the question this way in all such polls. That’s what we want isn’t it? Except for those MERP idiots.

  24. fallibilist says:

    Do you know what’s especially awesome about this poll?

    Yougov is the most sophisticated polling firm in the Anglo-American world.

    They did an even better job than the justly famous Nate Silver at predicting this past November’s election results!

    Now we just have to get younger people more engaged. How do we get them off of the computer long enough to sit through some pretty extended and boring “town hall” type meetings? Remember how the Tea Party got energized over the healthcare debate?

    Anyway, here are some links to back up my earlier claims:

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