The Middle Ground For Marijuana Policy

The Middle Ground For Marijuana Policy

In October, a non-partisan think tank called Third Way conducted online polls in order to gauge American support for marijuana policy reform. Support for legalization is regularly painted in the media as widely divided between party lines, but a closer look at the numbers reveals a different story.

Third Way’s poll findings concluded that 50 percent of Americans support recreational marijuana while 47 percent oppose. These numbers are closely in line with Pew Research polls that peg support in the United States at 52 percent. What the team at Third Way chose to focus on however, was the number of voters who are still sitting on the fence.

There is an overwhelming amount of support for medical marijuana from both parties, with collective support at a whopping 78 percent. It is quite surprising to see such a broad range of support when medical marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, but most Americans agree that the federal government has no business telling states what to do. In fact, 67 percent of voters said that Congress should pass legislation giving states protection from overarching federal reach. A small segment, 21 percent, of those opposing the legality of marijuana still believe that Congress should pass laws to protect states where marijuana is legal.

Marijuana Legalization Support Bar Graph

In the overall sample, Third Way determined that Republicans, moderates, white females, and people over the age of 50 make up the majority of those still “sitting on the fence.” These voters will not be easily persuaded to go either way, but are perhaps the most important in terms of moving forward with marijuana policy reform. As we have seen in efforts like the Yes On 91 campaign in Oregon, these voters can be reached, educated and brought to the polls.

The messaging that will sway the opinions of the “marijuana middle” is still unclear, and it seems that there is no one-size-fits-all rhetoric. Messaging that illustrates America’s failed drug war and explains the compassionate use of marijuana for cancer patients seem to be front-runners, but this will not convince everyone that marijuana will work in their community. What is clear, is that this small group of individuals (the soccer moms and 50+ demographic) will need some convincing before they vote in favor of marijuana policy reform. Education and tight regulation of proposed legislation will be critical if proponents of policy reform want victories in 2016.

Photo Credit: gnarburger

Polls Show Approval for Legal Marijuana in Oregon

Polls Show Approval for Legal Marijuana in Oregon

Voters in Oregon may quite possibly make history today by becoming the third of the United States to legalize marijuana. On the ballot, Measure 91, also known as the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act of 2014, will allow adults aged twenty-one years or older to possess up to eight ounces of dried marijuana flowers and up to four marijuana plants. Under this measure, the retail sale of cannabis will be regulated by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The state medical marijuana laws will remain unchanged.

Support for what has been referred to as “the most regulated and strict marijuana measure ever voted upon in Oregon,” has been steady throughout the polling season, but in recent days it has increased. The most recent poll by Survey USA was released on October 28. It shows a majority of voters approve of the marijuana legalization initiative in the state. This poll shows fifty-two percent of all surveyed support voting yes on Measure 91, and this is the number advocates hope will show true at the end of the election day.

Poll shows support for marijuana legalization Oregon

The graph above depicts results from three different polls by Survey USA, and includes the most recent results that are written in the paragraph above. The far left on the graph shows results from poll released September 25, where voter approval of legalizing marijuana was only at forty-four percent. The middle number, showing a forty-eight percent approval for Measure 91 from likely voters, was released October 20. In about one month, voter approval increased four percent. The numbers on the far right are from the most recent poll, released October 28. Just eight days later, approval increased to fifty-two percent.

The likelihood of this marijuana law reform initiative being passed by voters increases with the number of votes being cast. Want to help the cause?

Send your friends in Oregon a friendly reminder to vote, no matter which side of the fence they are on, using a Facebook App. First, find out if your registered friends in Oregon have already voted by going to DidTheyVoteYet.Org. The app can be downloaded through that site, and it will search your Facebook friends for you. It will populate a list of your friends who have not yet cast a ballot, and then you can call and text them until they exercise their American right to vote. As the Measure 91 initiative pointed out, marijuana cannot legalize itself.

Measure 91 Oregon


photo credit: ABC News, Survey USA

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