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75 Percent of Americans See Marijuana Legalization as Inevitable, Survey Finds

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A new survey finds 75 percent of Americans think it is inevitable that recreational marijuana will become legal across the country, ABC News reports. The survey also found a growing number of Americans support ending mandatory minimum prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders.

More Americans are in favor of overturning laws that require jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana, according to the Pew Research Center survey. “Even people who don’t favor the legalization of marijuana think the possession of small amounts shouldn’t result in jail time,” said Carroll Doherty, Pew’s Director of Political Research.

The survey found increasing support for legalization. Four years ago, 52 percent of survey respondents said they thought marijuana should not be legal and 41 percent said it should. This year, 54 percent of respondents said they favor legalization and 42 percent oppose it.

Many people remain concerned about drug abuse, the survey indicates—32 percent of respondents called it a crisis, and 55 percent said it is a serious national problem. In addition, 54 percent said they thought marijuana legalization would lead to more underage people trying the drug.

The findings were released this week as legislators around the country are considering changes to drug policies, the article notes. At least 30 states have modified penalties for drug crimes since 2009. Many of these states have repealed or reduced mandatory minimum sentences for lower-level drug offenses.

The federal government is also changing its approach to low-level drug crimes. Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified in favor of changing federal guidelines to reduce the average sentence for drug dealers. He told the United States Sentencing Commission the Obama Administration supports changing guidelines to reduce the average drug sentence by about one year, from 62 months to 51 months.

3 Responses to this article

  1. Doug Moser / April 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Skip, I don’t think Washington or Colorado or Uraguay has “wildly and blindly pursued” changes in their cannabis laws. THC is not inherently a dangerous substance and without value simply because it is a “significant intoxicant.” If you want to go there, we’ll open another thread/discussion!

  2. Ken Wolski / April 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Nearly 70% of the Millennial Generation—those born between 1981 and 1996—support the legalization of marijuana. Generations of Americans have been lied to and frightened by our government’s demonization of marijuana (“Marijuana is unsafe for use even under medical supervision”). But there is a new generation that has access to a vastly improved communication network. Instant fact-checking lets people decide for themselves—and what they’re deciding is that marijuana is a relatively benign substance with a host of medical benefits. The prohibition of marijuana, meanwhile, is now seen as a costly, ineffective failure that greatly harms society in many ways.

  3. Skip Sviokla MD ABAM / April 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Critical thinking backed by clinically driven data is what needs promulgation in the mainstream media. Politicians can easily be blinded by the overwhelming number of zealots for the unrestricted use of marijuana in the Country. They frequently “quote” bogus statistics. THC is a significant intoxicant which needs to be better understood-not wildly and blindly pursued.
    Skip Sviokla MD ABAM
    Author “From Harvard to Hell and Back”

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