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Statewide Poll Shows 72% of Maryland Voters Support Medical Marijuana (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    FEBRUARY 23, 2011



Big numbers bolster case for General Assembly to finally pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation

CONTACT: Morgan Fox, MPP communications manager……………..202-905-2031 or

            A new poll shows broad, overwhelming support for a bill that would make Maryland the 16th state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The survey informed voters of a bill pending in the legislature that would allow patients with multiple sclerosis, cancer, debilitating pain, and other serious conditions to use marijuana with their doctors’ approval. When asked if they supported the bill, 72% said yes, with just 21% opposed and 7% undecided.

            “I’m certainly pleased by the poll, but frankly, these numbers don’t surprise me,” said the bill’s sponsor, Del. Dan Morhaim, the only licensed physician in the General Assembly. “There’s a strong consensus among medical and scientific professionals that marijuana can relieve the suffering of those with certain serious illnesses, and there’s nothing controversial about relieving suffering. That’s what this bill is about.”

            Details of the poll showed strong support for medical marijuana across all age, partisan, and geographic lines. Older voters were very supportive of the proposal: 77% among 50-64 year olds and 69% among those 65 and older. Democrats were more likely to support the bill, but Republican support was still very strong at more than 2:1. And voters favored the legislation throughout the state, with even 62% of those in conservative, western Maryland in support.

            A similar bill was passed in the Senate last year, 35-12, but stalled in the House. A key question this year is whether House Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Vallario will allow committee members to vote on the proposal. The bill would need to be approved by his committee before it could head to the House floor where it would almost certainly be approved.

“I asked my doctor about this and she said marijuana can help me, so I certainly hope he supports the bill,” said Chris Idol, a Cumberland resident with a rare movement disorder. “But regardless, all I really ask is that he give patients the fair up-or-down vote we deserve.”

The Judiciary Committee, along with the Health and Government Operations Committee, has scheduled a hearing for Monday, February 28 at 1:00 p.m. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear the bill on Thursday, March 3.

The poll, conducted February 18-20 by Public Policy Polling, surveyed 1,076 registered voters and is available for download at

With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit


United States

Montana Wants Medical Marijuana Reform, Not Repeal

The Montana House voted last week to repeal the state's voter-approved medical marijuana, but a new poll suggests that action was out of touch with sentiments in the state. According to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday, while there is significant support for tightening the regulation of medical marijuana, only 20% of Montanans want to see it repealed.

medical marijuana (courtesy Coaster420 and
The poll, conducted on behalf of the medical marijuana advocacy group Patients and Families United, found that three-fourths of Montanans thought that the medical marijuana law should either be tightened or stay as is, but not repealed. Nearly half (49%) of respondents wanted a medical marijuana law with strict regulations, while 27% though the medical marijuana status quo was just fine.

The telephone poll of 2,212 Montana residents was conducted last Saturday and Sunday. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 2.1%.

In 2004, 62% of voters approved the medical marijuana law at the ballot box. But in the past couple of years, medical marijuana has exploded in the state, with the number of approved patients topping 28,000. Medical marijuana entrepreneurs have pushed the envelope, exciting opposition with traveling caravans crisscrossing the state complete with paid physicians writing recommendations after brief consultations.

Discontent over Wild West aspects of Montana medical marijuana has led to competing proposals in the state legislature to close loopholes while still protecting patient rights. But it has also led more extreme opponents to attempt to roll it back completely, as the House voted last week.

Legislators should heed the will of the voters, said Tom Daubert, founder and director of Patients and Families United. "Repealing this law would be the only step worse than doing nothing to fix it," Daubert said. "It's neither moral nor practical to suddenly redefine thousands of suffering patients as criminals. Taxpayers can't afford that, and patients who are leading more comfortable, productive lives using cannabis rather than narcotics can't be expected to happily go backwards. This voter-adopted policy is benefiting a great many people, and it deserves to be fixed in ways that will address everyone's concerns. We are gratified to know that Montanans agree."

Will the state Senate get the message? Stay tuned.

United States

Poll: Montanans Overwhelmingly Oppose Repeal of Medical Marijuana Act

United States
Poll results released today by Patients and Families United show that only 20 percent of Montanans support the outright repeal of the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. The findings conflict with the mood in Montana's Capitol. The Senate will soon take up a bill that could repeal the state's medical marijuana law. The House passed the measure on Monday by a vote of 62-37. Sixty-two percent of Montana voters approved the law in 2004.
Missoula Independent (MT)

Seattle Times Endorses Marijuana Legalization Bill

In an editorial appearing in last Sunday's print edition, Washington state's largest circulation daily newspaper has called on the state legislature to legalize marijuana. "Marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed," the Seattle Times editorial board wrote.

The endorsement comes as the legislature ponders House Bill 1550, which would do just that. It also comes just days after a similar endorsement from first term Seattle City Attorney Peter Holmes, who published an op-ed titled Washington State Should Lead on Marijuana Legalization in the Times Thursday.

Legalization is within reach in Washington, according to a SurveyUSA poll released late last month. That poll had support for marijuana legalization in general at 51% in the state, although that figure dropped to 47% when respondents were asked if they supported marijuana being sold through state liquor stores, as HB 1550 envisions.

In its Sunday editorial, the Times said the Evergreen State could take the first step toward ending pot prohibition nationwide. "The push to repeal federal prohibition should come from the states, and it should begin with the state of Washington," said the Times.

The Times noted that Washington state had been in the vanguard of medical marijuana legalization and that Seattle had led the move to make adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority. "It is time for the next step," the Times said.

Declaring that "marijuana is available now," the Times declared that "prohibition has not worked" and has imposed numerous costs -- to people arrested and imprisoned, in wasted law enforcement resources, in corruption and "disrespect for the law," in encouraging a criminal lifestyle among youth, and in lost tax revenues.

Although legalization would put Washington at odds with federal law, leading to a political and legal fight, somebody has to do it, and it might as well be Washington, the Times said.

[Editor's Note: HB 1550 might certainly ignite a political fight, but the legal conflict aspect tends to be overstated. As with state medical marijuana laws, the federal government has been found to have legal power to enforce federal drug laws, even in states that have broken with federal policy, but no federal power has been found which forces states to have drug laws on their own books.]

Seattle, WA
United States

Marijuana Reform in 2012? It's Your Call...


Legalization in 2012: What do YOU think?

Supporters of marijuana policy reform are coming together to produce a statewide ballot initiative that would end cannabis prohibition in Colorado in 2012.  No single organization or individual is heading the effort; rather, there is a wide variety of activists, organizations, businesses, professionals, and other stakeholders working together to create and pass the best law possible. 

Sensible Colorado, along with SAFER and other allies and organizations, are working to engage everyone possible in the process.  We are soliciting input and feedback from the community, which we will bring to the table as an initiative is drafted by some of the most qualified attorneys and advocates from across Colorado and around the nation.


If you would like to take part in the process of putting together the best possible legalization initiative for 2012, please send an e-mail to HERE.   Let us know what you do or do not want to see in the initiative, or just let us know if you have any ideas or thoughts on the process.  As you can imagine, we probably won’t be able to respond to every e-mail, but we assure you they will all be read and taken into consideration.  Submissions must be received on or before February 25, 2011.

United States

Most Michiganders in Favor of Medical Marijuana Use, Poll Finds

United States
Michigan voters support the state's medical marijuana law by nearly the same margin by which it was adopted in the 2008 election. The poll, conducted by Marketing Resource Group of Lansing, found that 61% of voters said they would vote yes again. Proposal 1 of 2008, legalizing the possession and use of marijuana for medical reasons, won with 62.6% of the vote. A spokeswoman for the Marijuana Policy Project said the poll "proves that a strong majority of Michigan voters stand firmly behind the compassionate medical marijuana law they enacted two years ago."
Detroit Free Press (MI)

We Got 'Legalization' into the President's Vocabulary

Dear Friends,

As you may have seen, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition speaker and retired deputy sheriff MacKenzie Allen's question on legalization was addressed by President Obama during YouTube's annual "Your Interview with the President" contest following the State of the Union address. MacKenzie's question pointed out that the war on drugs is an incredibly harmful policy and asked the president whether there should come a time for us to discuss the possibility of legalization, regulation and control of all drugs.

President Obama addressed MacKenzie's question by conceding that legalization is "an entirely legitimate topic for debate" and that while he is not in favor of legalization, he believes in a "public health-oriented approach." Although the president's continuing reliance on prosecution instead of treatment contradicts his verbal support for a public health-focused approach, it is historic that a president of the United States has finally acknowledged the legitimacy of a debate on legalization. Before being confronted directly with LEAP's law enforcement perspective, the Obama administration's standard line had been, "Legalization isn't in the president's vocabulary."

Since the president remains opposed to legalization even as he speaks for the necessity of a public health approach, it is up to us as drug policy reformers to lead the leaders and to educate our policy-makers on the urgent need for a system of legalized regulation. Drug prohibition is not a back-burner issue: it is quite literally a matter of life and death. Police officers and innocent civilians are dying every day, casualties of a failed policy that must be reevaluated via public debate until we set in place a workable system of legalization.

MacKenzie'squestion was voted the top-rated question for President Obama. It received more than twice the number of votes the second-place question received, and that's due in no small part to you, LEAP's loyal supporters. You know how hard our speakers work to bring legalization and regulation to the forefront. You know that as law enforcement professionals, their unassailable credibility takes this issue into the mainstream by presenting the perspective of those who have seen, firsthand, the devastating consequences of drug prohibition. Now we've taken the legalization debate all the way to the top, and we need YOUR support to keep this ball rolling.  Please make a contribution to LEAP today and show your support for everything our speakers have done and continue to do to show the world that legalization is the only sensible approach to drug policy.

Thank you so much,

Major Neill Franklin - Retired
Executive Director

Your donation puts LEAP speakers in front of audiences. To support LEAP's work by making a contribution, please click here.


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Patient Privacy Should Be at the Heart of Medical Marijuana Regulations (Opinion)

Steph Sherer, a medical marijuana patient and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, opines on medical marijuana patient privacy.
The Huffington Post (CA)

YouTube Questions for President Obama Have Gone to Pot

On Reddit earlier today, a user noted that the top 50 most popular questions were all related to marijuana use and drug crimes. Will President Obama address America's burning questions about legalizing marijuana and other drugs?
The San Francisco Examiner (CA)

Will Obama Answer Marijuana Legalization Questions Online?

This Thursday, President Obama will field questions submitted from the world of social media during a live-streamed YouTube interview. In two prior online question-n-answer sessions with the American public since taking office over two years ago, the question of ending America’s failed Cannabis Prohibition was a top question both times –- which speaks to the importance and urgency of the public’s want to actually control cannabis via taxation and regulation. However, regrettably, President Obama has dismissed ending Cannabis Prohibition in no uncertain terms.
Opposing Views (CA)

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