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Polls Find Maryland, Florida Ready for Marijuana Reform

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #804)

Polls from two more states this week show an increasing acceptance of the need to reform marijuana laws. In a Florida poll, Sunshine State voters said they were ready to back medical marijuana, while in a Maryland poll, Old Line State voters said they were ready to decriminalize and/or legalize the weed.

Voters in the two states are joining a growing cavalcade of marijuana reform supporters in state polls, some of them in places where the support seemed unlikely. Just in the month of September, different polls showed majority support for marijuana legalization in Louisiana, majority support for decriminalization and a near majority (47%) for legalization in Michigan, majority support for decriminalization and medical marijuana in Oklahoma, and majority support for legalization in California.

In Florida, where the Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative signature-gathering campaign is underway, a Public Policy Polling survey found support for a medical marijuana ballot measure at 62%, with only 26% opposed and 12% undecided.

That poll found strong support for medical marijuana among Democrats (68%) and independents (74%). And while there wasn't majority support among Republicans, more Republicans supported medical marijuana (46%) than opposed it (41%).

In Maryland, a Public Policy Polling survey found nearly three-quarters (72%) support for medical marijuana, more than two-thirds (68%) for decriminalization, and a slight majority (53%) for legalization. (The legalization question asked: "Would you support or oppose changing Maryland law to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and over, and regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol?")

The poll was commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project and the ACLU of Maryland, both of which have been working with the state legislature in Annapolis to loosen pot penalties. This year, the legislature approved a medical marijuana program, but rejected efforts to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

"Most Maryland voters recognize that marijuana prohibition has failed and believe it is time to adopt a more sensible approach," said Rachelle Yeung, legislative analyst for MPP. "By regulating marijuana like alcohol we can take marijuana sales out of the underground market and put them behind the counters of legitimate, tax-paying businesses. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and it is time to treat it that way."

"Our current marijuana prohibition policies are grossly ineffective," said Sara Love, public policy director for the ACLU of Maryland. "It's time to take a commonsense approach to public safety and criminal justice. We should not be wasting resources arresting people simply for possessing marijuana. Enforcement of these misguided marijuana laws is having a disproportionate and detrimental impact on communities of color. A majority of voters agree it is time for a change."

Elected officials are supposed to lead, but when it comes to marijuana law reform, it is becoming increasingly clear that the public is going to have to lead the elected officials by their noses.

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.


Louise (not verified)

don't treat cannabis like it's cigarettes or alcohol. don't legalize it, decriminalize it! it's a plant that anyone can grow. we as free human beings should be able to put whatever we want into our own bodies and have the right to grow this plant. there are so many medical benefits from this plant, it even helps with depression, which is not something to take lightly. we should not have to be on our sick bed to use cannabis. there should be no need for laws on something natural, healthy, and gets people through the day!

Fri, 10/04/2013 - 5:09pm Permalink
knowa (not verified)

Vote Florida

Fri, 10/04/2013 - 5:21pm Permalink
Cor (not verified)

In reply to by knowa (not verified)

Please people vote yes. Pot is not addicting . If people have pain it's much better to take pot pills or however method you prefer. It's so much better then being addicted to those class 4 narcotics. People it's time to Sanyo to these big drug companies & pain pill pushing doctors who inflate bills to Medicare , keeping innocent people addicted to the pills, let meads being on these drugs fog your brain, ruin you hair, teeth, skin, liver etc. but they don't tell you that! Please just do it!
Thu, 10/17/2013 - 10:40am Permalink
Mother With An… (not verified)

As a mother, I would much rather my daughter was (legally able to) smoke Marijuana and instead not mess around with alcohol as much as a young adult would with todays laws. (My daughter's only 8 months old so I'm sure Marijuana will be legalized by then for medicinal use or recreational use) As we all know, when you drink often you end up drinking too much, especially as a young adult. I would much rather my daughter be a little high than "tipsy" or "drunk". You NEVER know what going to happen and attest with Marijuana you are able to function, that is not the same story with alcohol. In my opinion alcohol should be more restricted than marijuana! Lets all look at the facts, marijuana has killed no one, where as alcohol has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people (not sure if that's true but you get my point)... Bad stuff happens when people drink!

I think a lot of the older generation such as my parents need to be educated on the effects of Marijuana and it's medicinal benefits. They need to be sat down and taught because they are a very closed minded generation, and I'm sure you all could agree on that...

Let's get realistic people, Marijuana is a plant that God gave us. There is no sin in enjoying the fruits God left us as long as we do so without abusing them or over doing it.  

It's time... 

Fri, 10/11/2013 - 6:16pm Permalink

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