Source: @norml @WeedConnection
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media :: news - Sun, 13 Apr 2014 04:20:21 PST
Poll: Legalization Of Marijuana Is Inevitable
Washington, DC: Seventy-five percent of Americans believe that the personal consumption and retail sale of cannabis will eventually be legal for adults, according to national polling data released this week by the Pew Research Center. Pew pollsters have been surveying the public's attitudes regarding marijuana legalization issue since 1973, when only 12 percent of Americans supported regulating the substance.
Fifty-four percent of respondents say that marijuana ought to be legal now, according to the poll. The total is the highest percentage of support ever reported by Pew and marks an increase of two percent since 2013. Forty-two percent of respondents said that they opposed legalizing marijuana for non-therapeutic purposes. Only 16 percent of Americans said that the plant should not be legalized for any reason.
Demographically, support for cannabis legalization was highest among those age 18 to 29 (70 percent), African Americans (60 percent), and Democrats (63 percent). Support was weakest among those age 65 and older (32 percent) and Republicans (39 percent).
Seventy-six percent of those surveyed oppose incarceration as a punishment for those found to have possessed personal use quantities of marijuana. Only 22 percent of respondents supported sentencing marijuana possession offenders to jail.
Fifty-four percent of those polled expressed concern that legalizing marijuana might lead to greater levels of underage pot use. (Forty-four percent said that it would not.) Overall, however, respondents did not appear to believe that such an outcome would pose the type of significant detrimental health risks presently associated with alcohol. As in other recent polls, respondents overwhelmingly say that using cannabis is far less harmful to health than is drinking alcohol. Sixty-nine percent of those polled said that alcohol "is more harmful to a person's health" than is marijuana. Only 15 percent said that cannabis posed greater health risks. Sixty-three percent of respondents separately said that alcohol is "more harmful to society" than cannabis. Only 23 percent said that marijuana was more harmful.
The Pew poll possesses a margin on error of +/- 2.6 percent.
Recent national polls by Gallup and CNN similarly report majority support among Americans for legalizing and regulating the adult use of the plant.
Commenting on the poll, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: "Advocating for the regulation of cannabis for adults is not a fringe political opinion. It is the majority opinion among the public. Elected officials who continue to push for the status quo - the notion that cannabis ought to be criminalized and that the consumers of cannabis ought to be stigmatized and punished - are holding on to a fringe position that is increasingly out-of-step with their constituents' beliefs."
Poll: Majority Of Physicians Support Legalizing Cannabis
New York, NY: An estimated 70 percent of physicians acknowledge the therapeutic qualities of cannabis and over half believe that the plant should also be legal for non-medical purposes, according to survey data released last week by WebMD/Medscape.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents say that cannabis can help in the treatment of specific diseases and 67 percent say that the plant should be available as a legal therapeutic option for patients.
Oncologists and hematologists were most likely to express support for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, with 82 percent of those surveyed endorsing the plant's therapeutic use. Rheumatologists (54 percent) were least likely to say the cannabis provides therapeutic benefits.
"The medical community is clearly saying they support using marijuana as a potential treatment option for any number of medical problems," said WebMD Chief Medical Editor Michael W. Smith.
Regarding the non-medical use of cannabis, 56 percent of physicians surveyed say that they support making the plant legal nationwide for adults. Recent national polling data indicates similar levels of support for marijuana legalization among the general public.
Over 1,500 physicians representing more than 12 specialty areas participated in the survey, which possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.
Maryland: Lawmakers Approve Measures Reducing Marijuana Possession Penalties, Expanding Access To Medical Cannabis
Annapolis, MD: Maryland lawmakers approved legislative measures this week revising the state's medical cannabis law and reducing penalties involving non-medical marijuana possession.
Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 364, reducing minor marijuana possession penalties to a civil offense. Democrat Gov. Martin O'Malley acknowledged that he intends to sign the bill into law. The bill amends existing penalties for marijuana possession offenses involving ten grams or less from a criminal misdemeanor (presently punishable by arrest, up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, and a criminal record) to a non-arrestable, non-criminal fine-only offense ($100 fine for first-time offenders, $250 for second-time offenders).
According to a recent ACLU report, Maryland possesses one of the highest rates of marijuana possession arrests per capita of any state in the country.
The new law will take effect on October 1, 2014.
Maryland lawmakers on Monday also approved separate legislation, House Bill 881, amending the state's existing medical marijuana law, which had been largely nonfunctional. The pending measure seeks to allow for qualified patients who possess a recommendation from their physician to obtain cannabis for therapeutic purposes from state-licensed producers and distributors.
Twenty states and Washington, DC have enacted similar medical cannabis laws, while more than a dozen states have enacted fine-only penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses.
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