Americans Agree: Marijuana Shouldn't be Criminalized

Allen St. Pierre is the executive director and Paul Armentano is the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington.

NEW YORK:  Despite decades of propaganda from marijuana prohibitionists, a majority of the American public has indeed said “enough” to the policies of cannabis criminalization. And no amount of fear-mongering is going to change this fact.

Writing in a just-published report by the Brookings Institute, “The New Politics of Legalization,” authors E.J. Dionne and William Galston conclude, “In less than a decade, public opinion has shifted dramatically toward support for the legalization of marijuana. … Demographic change and widespread public experience using marijuana imply that opposition to legalization will never again return to the levels seen in the 1980s. The strong consensus that formed the foundation for many of today’s stringent marijuana laws has crumbled.”

Indeed it has. Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with pot prohibition and replacing it with a system of legalization and regulation. The proof is in the polls.

Then there is this: An April 2013 national survey commissioned by the Pew Research Center reports that 72% of Americans now believe that “government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth,” and 60% say the government should no longer enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that have approved its use.

And this: According to a December 2012 Angus Reid national sampling of U.S .voters, 66% say that they expect cannabis to be legal within the next 10 years.

And finally there’s this: recently published polls by Gallup, Pew,Quinnipiac University and Public Policy Polling all find that far more Americans now favor legalizing marijuana for adults than believe in its continued prohibition. Why? The answer has become obvious. The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. Furthermore, the criminalization of cannabis simply doesn’t work.

Read full article @ CNN

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