December 6, 2001
Zogby Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose US Marijuana Policies
Two-Thirds Oppose Feds' Closing of Medical Pot Clubs; Three-Fifths Oppose Arresting Pot Smokers
Washington, DC: Americans oppose federal efforts to close California medical marijuana providers, and reject the notion that recreational users of the drug should face arrest or criminal prosecution, according to a national poll of 1,024 likely voters by Zogby International and commissioned by the NORML Foundation.
Two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents oppose the use of federal law enforcement agencies to close dispensaries that supply medical marijuana to patients in California and other states that have legalized pot for medical use. Of those, a full one-half (50 percent) say they "strongly oppose," 17 percent say they "somewhat oppose" and six percent are undecided. Only 27 percent of those polled say they support the government's actions, and fewer than one in five (15 percent) voiced strong support.
In addition, 61 percent of respondents said that in light of the increased attention to the threat of terrorism since September 11, they oppose arresting and jailing nonviolent marijuana smokers. Of those, 39 percent "strongly oppose" arresting smokers, 22 percent "somewhat oppose" and six percent are undecided. Only 33 percent of those polled say they support arresting and jailing marijuana offenders, and fewer than one in five (18 percent) voiced strong support. The poll is the first to gauge the public's support for marijuana decriminalization since the September 11 tragedy.
"From opinion-makers like The Washington Post's David Broder and The New York Times' Anthony Lewis to the general public, there is a consensus that America's 65-year war on marijuana smokers needs to take a back seat to the current, substantive war on terrorism," NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Foundation Executive Director, at (202) 483-8751.
Congressmen Urge Legalization of Medical Marijuana, Condemn Crackdown on California Pot Clubs
"We do not believe that there is widespread support in the Congress for the use of federal law enforcement officials to override state law in this regard," Reps. say
Washington, DC: Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) are intensifying their efforts to rally Congressional support for House Bill 2592, the "State's Rights to Medical Marijuana Act," which would allow physicians to legally prescribe marijuana under federal law and permit state legislatures to establish distribution systems for the drug.
In a "Dear Colleague" letter distributed to House Representatives Wednesday, Frank and Paul said that recent actions taken by the federal government against California's medical cannabis providers underscore the need for Congress to back HR 2592 and respect the rights of states to follow their own medical marijuana policies.
"We do not believe that there is widespread support in the Congress for the use of federal law enforcement officials to override state law in this regard, and we note that no one has pointed to any pattern of abuse that has resulted from these state policies," they state. "But with the Supreme Court having ruled that the supremacy clause of the US Constitution allows the Executive Branch to override state policy on [the] matter [of the manufacture and distribution of medical marijuana,] and since the Executive Branch has shown a willingness, if not an eagerness, to do exactly that, the Congress is the only branch of the federal government that can act to preserve the rights of states to make their own decisions."
They continue: "The regulation of medical practice has long been a state matter, and we think that, in this instance, it should remain so. We therefore ask that you join us in sponsoring legislation which has the sole purpose of allowing states which decide to reclassify marijuana so that it may be prescribed for medical purposes the ability to do so."
Presently, 20 members of Congress are signed on to the bill, which awaits action from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health.
For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. To learn more about the "State's Rights to Medical Marijuana Act," please visit: http://www.norml.org/laws/fedleg2001.shtml. Full text of the bill is available at: http://thomas.loc.gov. To send a letter to your congressman urging support of HR 2592, please visit http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=23972&type=CO.
- End -