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In Washington State, A Majority Say Legalize Marijuana

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #653)

A majority of Washington state residents favor legalizing marijuana, but support levels are not as high in Oregon and Idaho, according to a new tri-state poll. Some 55% of respondents in Washington supported legalization, with 34% opposed, while in Oregon, it won a narrow plurality (45% to 43%), and in Idaho, opposition was at 52%, with only 37% in favor.

Mt. Hood, northern Oregon
The poll results are from a survey of the three Northwest states' residents conducted by the polling firm Davis, Hibbitts, and Midghall (DHM) for the Northwest Health Foundation and public radio stations across the region. The poll results have not yet been posted, but DHM's Adam Davis shared preliminary results with Drug War Chronicle during a phone interview Monday.

Davis said full results would be posted at DHM "in a day or two."

The survey asked four generic marijuana-related questions: Has your attitude toward marijuana changed over time (and if so, in what direction); do you support state laws permitting medical marijuana; are you comfortable with a medical marijuana dispensary in your neighborhood; and do you support the legalization of the purchase and possession of marijuana?

While majorities in all three states said their attitudes toward marijuana had remained the same over time, those who said their attitudes had changed broke two-to-one toward more tolerant attitudes.

Davis said support for medical marijuana was at 64% in Oregon, with 30% opposed. Compared to Oregon, "Washington was more supportive and Idaho less so," said the pollster. "There is pretty strong support, generally speaking. It leads almost two-to one."

But having a medical marijuana dispensary in the neighborhood didn’t fare nearly as well. Only in Washington were a majority (52%) comfortable with a local dispensary, with that figure dropping to 43% in Idaho and, surprisingly, only 40% in Oregon.

That last figure could have immediate real world ramifications. Oregon voters will decide next month on Measure 74, which would allow for a regulated dispensary system. This poll finding, while isolated, suggests that voters could turn away from the initiative next month. Get to the polls, Oregon medical marijuana supporters!

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Leonard Krivit… (not verified)

Cannabis is less physically addictive than caffeine, while the so-called "gateway drug" theory is a complete fantasy, and it was just recently called "half-baked" as a result of a scientific study. CNN reported that Cocaine use has dropped sharply, by 30% since 2002, which is really good news. I worked in addiction medicine for years, and this is what I can advice on the matter: Any suppression of Cannabis use will be immediately followed by an increase in alcohol/hard drug/prescription drug abuse! You don't believe me? Then maybe you will believe the Big Alcohol lobby that is financing the Cannabis Legalization opponents for exactly this reason. Right now Cannabis is just simply perceived as a much safer alternative to alcohol/hard drugs, which is precisely how it should be perceived. To have a society in which there is NO psychoactive substance use is an illusion, and it will be good for our government to realize this. So then, it becomes a matter of "safer choices", just like with the sex education. And Cannabis is, without a shadow of a doubt, a much safer choice than alcohol or hard drugs! Just very recently a research study in addiction medicine has determined that Cannabis may actually serve as an "exit" substance for recovering alcoholics/hard drug addicts! And there is another extremely important property of Cannabis that the prohibitionists would love to keep secret: Cannabis use suppresses violent urges and behaviors and, as one prestigious textbook says, "Only the unsophisticated think otherwise" Then, of course, there is a potential of Cannabis in chronic pain, where other drugs may be ineffective (or physically addictive), with very important potential implications for our wounded veterans, many of whom have chronic pain. It is also worth noting that Cannabis may have certain preventative value for such devastating conditions as cancer and Alzheimer's disease. And all this comes with no danger of overdoses or induction of a physical dependence! Let's be very happy that the cocaine abuse rate is dropping. Let's not interfere with these dynamics, and then we can possibly achieve what has already been achieved in the Netherlands where the drug overdose rate is 85%(!!) lower than in the US, and that is with much more liberal Cannabis possession laws than in this country! Maybe it is time to give up "dogma" about Cannabis, and to start listening to the experts, if we really want to lower the alcohol/hard drug use in this country, and the accompanying dependencies and overdoses!?

Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:12pm Permalink
Arlene Williams (not verified)

In reply to by Leonard Krivit… (not verified)

I am so in agreement with your statement that I would like permission to reprint it on my website.  I am an almost 74 yr old activist living in NYC .Cannabis saved my life helping me to fight off a spreading 3rd stage breast cancer. I also worked as a volunteer in an Aids hospice. I know first hand that it works as an alternative RX for many people. I also think if a person can legally drink or smoke cigarettes they should also have the option  to be able to safely enjoy marijuana for recreational use...It is definitely not a gateway drug. I have yet to mug someones grandma, rob a 7/11, stick a crack pipe in my mouth or a needle in my arm. People who do these things have other problems and are going to do whatever with or without cannabis. Thank you for an intelligent, right to the point piece on one of the most maligned subjects that I can think of. Its all about education...society needs to reeducate themselves. You do not have to indulge to be a supporter of someones' right to do indulge in cannabis.

Thu, 10/14/2010 - 3:25pm Permalink
Chase Sullivan (not verified)

i might not live in Washington, but here are my answers lol. Come on Alabama, let's legalize medicinal marijuana, and soon after California legalizes it completely, Alabama should follow as well.


Yes, my attitude towards marijuana, has grown strong over the past year, after of course i realized "it's not so bad after all", and how the government lied about it.

Yes, i do support a states law to have medical marijuana.

Yes, i am extremely comfortable with the idea that a medical marijuana dispensary could be in my neighborhood.

And Yes, i do support the legalization of marijuana to purchase it and possess it.

Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:47pm Permalink
SpyDr ByTe (not verified)

I must say I couldn't agree more with all the statements spoken on this website, for that Marijuana is not as bad as everyone thinks it is.


What I find so interesting is the fact that naturally the brain contains what are called "cannibinoids" naturally. Marijuana is no different from cigarettes except it isnt processed with the thousands of chemicals and cancer causing agents as cigarettes have. Alcohol is kind of iffy because you can die, alcohol poisoning, any hard drug you can OverDose, but marijuana, at all???Nope, just a slight case of going to sleepy land, lol


I know they are going to legalize marijuana for a couple of theories of mine. First, I believe that they can slightly take over the control of the drug for the fact that if it is legalized in WA state than it will be available at all local Liqueor Shops and if this happens than people will not have a reason to see there dealer or find one for that matter so this will be a huge change. Secondly, I know they are going to tax the hell out of it but people will be willing to pay, for a fact so the governement will be making there money on Marijuana because they know that they cannot win the war on Marijuana.

Mon, 10/18/2010 - 4:02pm Permalink

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