Majority Wants To Treat Pot Like Alcohol
Careful whom you trust to interpret poll results. A national poll was released on April 20 which showed that a majority of Americans supports legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol — but you’d never know that from the headlines and coverage that ensued.
The headlines about the Associated Press/CNBC poll (PDF) on marijuana legalization read “Most In U.S. Against Legalizing Pot,” but when Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim looked closer at the results, he found a different story.
Forty-four percent of respondents said “the regulations on marijuana [should] be the same as those for alcohol.” And another 12 percent said marijuana regulations should be “less strict,” meaning a full 56 percent support changing marijuana policy — perhaps the highest number ever recorded in favor of legalization.
Kind of odd, wouldn’t you say? The results of a nationwide poll, in a tidal shift of public opinion, show that a substantial majority — 56 percent of Americans — support either the same or looser restrictions on marijuana than on alcohol, which is, of course, already legal (except in certain “dry counties” in the Deep South).
But somehow, that gets reported in the national press as “Most In U.S. Against Legalizing Pot”? It’s no wonder the potheads get a little paranoid sometimes.
“Interesting results, indeed, and it’s too bad this bit got buried in most coverage of this week’s marijuana polls,” Tom Angell of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) told me.
The poll of 1,000 Americans was taken by polling firm GfK Roper for CNBC’s “Marijuana & Money” report. The margin of error was 4.3 percentage points.
By a 2-1 margin, respondents said that if pot were legal, they would favor allowing the government to tax sales of cannabis.
A CBS News poll, also released April 20, showed 55 percent of voters on the American West Coast favor legalizing marijuana.
And a new SurveyUSA poll has the California cannabis legalization initiative up 56-42, with support strongest among those 18 to 34. Voters older than 65 oppose it 54-39; unfortunately, they are also the most likely to vote in the upcoming midterm election.