On Tuesday July 16, the Partnership at Drugfree.org released the results of an online survey which found that 70% of the U.S. respondents support medical marijuana, 52% support decriminalization, and 42% favor outright legalization. While these figures come as no surprise to those who have been following national trends, the release of these results from the Partnership at Drugfree.org is unusual and worthy of notice.
The survey, titled “Marijuana: It's Legal, Now What?” collected data from 1,603 adults, of which 1,200 are parents of children ages 10 to 19. According to the Partnership’s summary, “With marijuana now legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington State, for medical use in 18 states and the District of Columbia, and effectively decriminalized in 14 states, it's clear that society's approach to marijuana is changing dramatically.” Having discovered the inevitability of changing marijuana laws, the Partnership is likely to turn its focus toward preventing legal marijuana from being advertised and distributed to minors.
The authors of the survey wrote, “Interestingly, support for each of the three legalization scenarios — medical legalization, decriminalization and legalization for recreational use — increased by anywhere from 3 to 11 percentage points when respondents were provided with more details explaining the meaning of each one.” From this, it would appear that a significant percentage of the population is confused about medical marijuana laws and policies, and that many people are unclear about the what the terms ‘decriminalization’ or ‘legalization’ mean, and the differences between the two.
Supporters of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform should glean from the survey’s results that an effective education campaign to inform our fellow citizens about responsible legalization will garner additional support for the ending of marijuana prohibition.