Skip to main content

CBS Marijuana Poll: Medical, Yes; Legalization, Not Quite

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #710)

A CBS News poll has found strong national support for medical marijuana, but more people who want to maintain pot prohibition than want to legalize it. Some 77% of respondents said doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana for serious medical conditions, but only 40% said marijuana should be legalized.

The poll was conducted at the end of October by phone (both land line and cell) with 1,033 respondents. The margin of error is +/- 3% for the overall sample, larger for subgroups.

The poll asked "Should marijuana be legal or illegal?" and the slightest of majorities -- 51% -- said it should be illegal. The 40% who said it should be legal is a slight decline from previous CBS News polls, which had support at 41% in two separate polls in 2009 and 44% last year.

The CBS News poll is on the low side when it comes to support for freeing the weed. An October Gallup poll had national support for legalization at 50%, and an August Angus Reid poll had support at 55%. Also contrary to the CBS numbers, both Gallup and Angus Reid, as well as other pollsters, show support for legalization trending upward.

In the CBS News poll, only two demographics reported majority support for legalization: Liberals (66%) and 18-to-29-year-olds (52%). Men broke evenly on the issue, with 46% supporting and 47% opposing, but women were more likely to oppose legalization. Only 35% of women supported it, with 54% opposed.

The polling results on medical marijuana reflected strong support for making it available to the seriously ill, but also cynicism about what goes on under the rubric of medical marijuana. While support for medical marijuana is strong across every demographic, the poll found that just 31% thought pot sold under state medical marijuana laws was being used to treat seriously ill people. A majority (52%) said they thought it was being used for other reasons, including 40% of those who thought marijuana should be legal.

The polls continue to show marijuana legalization on the cusp of majority support. Some are a few points over 50%, some a few points under, some right there right now. Acceptance of marijuana has come a long way in the past few decades in every major poll (and for CBS News, up from 27% in 1979). We may not be quite over the top, but we're getting very close.

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.


Moonrider (not verified)

especially since the way the questions are posed are designed to get a specific kind of answer and in light of what they have done to Ron Paul in the debates and the polls about the debates.  CBS is not a reliable source any more, if it ever was.

Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:45am Permalink
Anuel Jackson (not verified)

In reply to by Moonrider (not verified)

the news wire services, such as CBS,ABC,NBC, have been in bed with the government ever since they made marijuana illegal!, how many of them have reported what Billy Graham had said about the drug war, and how many people know that Jimmy Carter wanted to legalize it?

Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:20pm Permalink
Nedmorlef (not verified)

Do you think the gov't should be hunting down pot smokers and growers like animals, at all costs,even Constitutional for personal use ? This question needs to be more in depth than I wrote it.

Do you believe the gov't should be able to take your lifelong home on the basis you paid for it with the one or two plants you were growing at the time?

Do you think the gov't should be able to kick in their doors in the wee hours of morning, shooting their pets,throwing flash-bang grenades and thus terrorizing their children over simple possession or growing for personal use while, indiscriminately firing weapons in the home creating stray bullets which, penetrate walls into neighboring homes?

How you ask the questions means the most to the point at which, you are reaching. Just asking "if" while, painting a stereotyped picture in their heads with the question changes the scope. They know it and so do we.

 The police dept maintains an immaculate image on the faces and uniforms of it's officers while ,burying the hideous evil lurking beneath. It's going to take a whole lot more death & theft before people wake up. It's going to take one smart person to record the whole process on film all the way up to the raid and proving to the world how evil this so called war for the children really is.

I may be that guy. I am working on ten years of collecting the waco type harassment of a self medicating medical smoker. Continual pet slaughter and vandalism tied into employment interference and character assassination. Just watch the waco tapes. That's how they confront the problem to the dot of the "i" and the crossing of the "t".

Any of you that have ever knowingly fallen victim know my words are true. If not just look at the evidence in case after case. The tactics are practiced by every police dept in the country across the board. Even those in other nations are starting to see it and chastise americans for allowing our freedonms to go to waste. They know that, when america falls to fascism the world falls. The drug war is a back door into disassembling the Constitution and nothing else. They have found a group that no one cares for or carries any sympathy for and they will milk it for all they can get.

Thu, 11/24/2011 - 9:50am Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.