Legalize Pot? More Americans are Saying It’s OK
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Legalize Pot? More Americans are Saying It’s OK
Posted by CN Staff on October 25, 2011 at 20:37:03 PT
By James Hart, The Kansas City Star
Source: Kansas City Star
USA -- A generation ago, the legalization of marijuana didn’t generate much discussion beyond activists and college students. The vast majority of Americans just said no.According to a new Gallup poll, however, about 50 percent of those surveyed support legalization of marijuana — the first time that’s happened since their researchers started asking the question back in 1969. What used to be an automatic “no” is becoming a much more open question.
There are a few qualifiers, to be sure. The survey’s margin of error was 4 percent. Statistician Nate Silver, who writes the influential FiveThirtyEight blog, says it’s likely that marijuana’s supporters are still in the minority, judging from other surveys conducted this year.Look at the long term, though, and you can see the shift. In 1969, about 84 percent of those surveyed approved of laws against marijuana, and it’s been mostly on the decline ever since.“If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues,” Gallup concludes, “pressure may build to bring the nation’s laws into compliance with the people’s wishes.”That’s already started to happen. Sixteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have passed laws allowing medical marijuana. A 2010 survey — also from Gallup — recorded 70 percent support for marijuana prescriptions.It’s not clear if that will translate into full legalization. Last year, California defeated a ballot measure that would let local jurisdictions decide for themselves if pot should be forbidden. Proposition 19 died with 54 percent of voters saying no. The average person really doesn’t care if cancer patients smoke marijuana, it seems, but they dislike the idea of their bus driver or doctor being able to do so.Activists say they’re going to try again next year.Younger generations do tend to support marijuana legalization more — about 62 percent of those ages 18 to 29 are pro-pot, Gallup says — but they don’t vote as much as older people do. And we haven’t really touched the biggest roadblock: the federal government. Under federal law, pot possession and distribution are illegal — even in states that have opened the door to medical marijuana. Earlier this month, in fact, federal prosecutors in California warned dispensaries there to shut down or risk criminal charges. They did that because, they say, the medical-marijuana movement became corrupted.“The intention regarding medical marijuana under California state law was to allow marijuana to be supplied to seriously ill people on a nonprofit basis,” U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag told The Associated Press. “What we are finding, however, is that California’s laws have been hijacked by people who are in this to get rich and don’t care at all about sick people.”Any state that does fully legalize marijuana would probably find itself battling the federal government. But who knows? Give it another 20 years, and we all might be surprised.Source: Kansas City Star (MO)Author: James Hart, The Kansas City StarPublished: October 25, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Kansas City StarContact: letters kcstar.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #27 posted by Hope on October 27, 2011 at 22:15:04 PT
Informative article.
Occupy Oakland makes plans for citywide general strike
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on October 27, 2011 at 08:52:25 PT
When we use words like freak it isn't nice. I will not call southern people rednecks. We shouldn't ever let the way people in some areas of the country believe to stop us from being free thinkers and fair to all people. If we can get the Federal Law changed it will help everyone in all the states. 
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Comment #25 posted by Commonsense on October 27, 2011 at 08:29:37 PT
I worry that I've offended you with the "freak show" comment. I hope I didn't. I was only trying to illustrate the point that it took a while for what we think of when we think of the Sixties to spread out all across America. Pot use came along with all that, and it took a while for pot use to become popular everywhere, and that explains why the data shows that less than half of the first few years worth of Baby Boomers smoked pot. They came of age when pot was becoming popular but hadn't spread to every corner of America like it did by the late Seventies. I wasn't trying to say somebody didn't or doesn't like somebody, that anyone is a freak, or anything like that at all, only that in 1967 there were images of places like Haight-Ashbury broadcasted on TV that were completely foreign to much of America at the time where things were still like they'd been maybe five or ten years prior. I am sorry if I offended you. 
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Comment #24 posted by Oleg the tumor on October 27, 2011 at 07:52:02 PT:
Interesting Idea, Rev. Green
I like your line of thinking but technically I think this has already happened. 
We don't hear Timothy Leary's name too much anymore (unless you listen to the Moody Blues a lot) but he was the defendant in a marijuana possession case who chose to challenge the law right up to the Supreme Court and won his case…At that time, Congress put Cannabis on Schedule 1 and commissioned a report from the medical/scientific community.At that point the clock stopped and no one is willing to say why.We as taxpayers should demand that the process should go forward from there as Congress intended.If memory serves, that report found marijuana was "non-toxic" and recommended against a full prohibition.So I say: spot the ball and get ready to start the clock again. It's first and goal on the one!Your idea of using the antidiscrimination laws to affect the outcome in the cannabis debate cannot be discounted though it seems like a "back door" solution now, when America desperately needs open information from the medical community, who cannot hope to get straight answers from anyone as long as the current federal policy remains in place.
My advice to anyone reading this particularly outside of California, is to ask your doctor(s) what they think of the action taken by the California Medical Association?I would encourage the medical community to spread the word – legalize, it's the only way to parse out all the risks and the benefits. Besides, all the Boomers now retiring are going to hand their Social Security money over to the wrong sort of people unless they legalize it.Until the consensus is reached, that the "cure" of federal prohibition is indeed far worse than any malady posed by cannabis, the federal prohibition will continue to stand in the way, jailing people who are not criminals.How long must this continue?Each of us must resolve not to let the election of 2012 go past without this issue getting its full airing!We don't need another Chez Guevara.
Everyone we need is right here. Just keep generating the ideas as they come to you, keep reading and keep posting.Legalize Freedom!
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on October 27, 2011 at 06:17:02 PT
Thank you for your comment. Remember many of us were very happy with how things began to change during the 60s. If southern states didn't like us it really isn't important. We should be free to be who we are and not try to be what a group of people want us to be. This is America. 
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Comment #22 posted by FoM on October 27, 2011 at 06:13:17 PT
When you have time give a call. I am glad to read things are going well for you. I had to go away yesterday and was gone until late last night. My nephew is back in the hospital and my sister and my brother in law came from Maryland to see him one more time. Muscular Dystrophy is a terrible disease.
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on October 26, 2011 at 17:11:33 PT
Man! I love this thread!
So many entrenched C-Newsers that we haven't heard enough of lately. Commonsense. BGreen. RChandar. Good to hear from you all as always.Also good to see Gloovins kicking back on this thread or another.My cyber friends. Heroes in this struggle.
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on October 26, 2011 at 17:05:23 PT
Good things happening? That sounds marvelous! It is good to see you.
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Comment #19 posted by rchandar on October 26, 2011 at 14:45:53 PT:
A Suggestion For Cali
If the federal government wants to play hardball with us, a simple suggestion to the makers of the ballot would be to word it to stipulate not legalization but full depenalization. Meaning that  all penalties for possession would be abolished.That way, the Feds can't really intervene or enforce the law because states aren't required to have any laws even though the Feds still are. Holder and his team could do very little to stop them, if that's the route they chose. The people would probably pass it.
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Comment #18 posted by BGreen on October 26, 2011 at 14:26:16 PT
Well, Commonsense, as a 48-year-old
The thought of ever seeing the LGBT community as a protected class seemed pretty darned unimaginable, too, so I sure haven't given up hope.Thanks for your response,The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #17 posted by Commonsense on October 26, 2011 at 13:40:25 PT
I have not kept up with those cases and do not know what arguments were made or what the courts have held. There is a push to make gays a protected class so that they cannot be discrimiated against, like people cannot be discriminated against because of their gender. There is a great deal of opposition to this. Those who oppose make a lot of slipery slope arguments. Imagine the slipery slope arguments if we made pot smokers a protected class of some sort. Will we have to do that for meth addicts, etc.I don't think we're ever going to get courts to rule that people have the right to smoke pot. Pot laws were challanged in Alaska and because of different language in their state constitution and the way it had been interpreted there was a time when people could legally possess pot in their homes, grow a little, etc. Similar arguments have't worked for challenges to our federal constitution, and we do not have Supreme Court Justices who would be open to such arguments now. So much of what they do is political. I don't see us legalizing marijuana through the courts. We'll get the politicians to do it before we get the courts to do it.
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Comment #16 posted by Commonsense on October 26, 2011 at 13:18:44 PT
BGreen and FoM
BGreen:Sure, I'll check back later.FoM:I hope that didn't come out wrong. I'm not definitely not ripping on people who were part of the big changes in the Sixties. What I'm saying is that what went on in big cities and college campuses and other places in the late Sixties wasn't going on everywhere in the country. It took a while for things to hit there, particulalry small town America in the South where I live. I remember when I was a kid things that were stylish in other parts of the country not really taking off here until years later, and things that were already so last year elswhere still being the hottest thing in my town. It took a while for styles, thoughts, drug culture, etc., to make it to all corners of the nation.What I was really getting at though was that it took several years for marijuana use to become ubiquitous. I've talked about this before here. I think I brought up the song, "Okie from Muskogee." It probably did take longer for pot use to really take of in Muskogee, Oklahoma, than in San Fransico, California. It had to become sort of popular and people had to be bringing it in and distribution networks had to develop. That happened early on in some parts of the country, especially on college campuses and in big cities or towns near big cities or on the routes where most of the pot was being moved. Then it just spread out over the years and by the late Seventies it was firmly entrenched everywhere. According to the government numbers marijuana use among young people peaked in this country in 1979. By then it was everywhere. People who came of age in the late Seventies are more likely then just about any other adults to have smoked marijuana at some point during their lives. The only reason this is significant to me is that I'm looking at people of various age demographics wondering who has smoked pot, whether our politicians are likely to have smoked it and so on. I know at least from all the numbers that the first few years worth of Baby Boomers were less likely to have smoked pot than those who came after them. If these people lived in big cities during that time, or if they were in college, they are much much more likely to have smoked pot in the Sixties than small town folks who didn't go to college. If they were males, they were more likely to have smoked it than if they were females. If they were males who went to college, like most of our lawmakers that age, they were very likely to have smoked it. I'm just looking at the numbers, not making any values judgments or anything like that. If you were an 18 year old farm boy in Scranton, Arkansas, in 1967, you probably didn't know anyone who smoked pot, or that was a hippie, and what you saw on TV going on in San Fransico, California, probably did look like a freak show to you. It would have been so different than anything you would have ever seen in your area, a really small town where most people were farmers or made their living supplying or supporting farmers. Your little brother five years younger than you probably would have seen pot in school even though you hadn't and none of your friends were smoking it. Your youngest brother, ten years younger (German Catholic area where families used to be huge), probably smoked the crap out of it when he was in high school, maybe grew it, maybe even sold it to those of us going to Subiaco Academy in the next town over, living at the monastery. There was definitely pot smoking going on there in the late Seventies when I was there. 
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Comment #15 posted by BGreen on October 26, 2011 at 12:51:10 PT
Hi, FoM
I need to call you and Hope. I've been really busy trying to make good things happen and it looks like things are working out better than I could have dreamed.Bud
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Comment #14 posted by BGreen on October 26, 2011 at 12:40:49 PT
My question to Commonsense
Within the last year there was a ruling by a judge that the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy was unconstitutional, with the court ruling that the government couldn't use the blanket policy of all gays are bad, they had to show how this female service member was herself guilty of the assumptions of being unfit for duty because of this policy.I tried to find the exact case and wasn't able to on short notice. I remember Rachel Maddow saying that this was the final nail in the coffin in the discrimination against LGBT service people because they couldn't prove any of these individuals deserved to be discharged. Without the blanket policy of "gays are bad," the witch hunt was over.I wondered why we couldn't pursue that line of argument? Why can't we make them prove each individual caught with cannabis is indeed the threat that their "drugs are bad" blanket policy demands? If it works for the civil rights of each and every LGBT American citizen to have to prove that they are a true threat beyond "just because," then why can't I, one hell of an upstanding American citizen, demand that they prove that I am truly a threat commensurate to the punishment they inflict over the cannabis plant?Thanks for your time,The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on October 26, 2011 at 12:29:25 PT
It's wonderful to see you.
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on October 26, 2011 at 12:28:32 PT
OFF Topic But Good News
Poll: More Agree Than Disagree with Occupy Wall Street Goals***October 26, 2011Excerpt: Meanwhile, just 26 percent said that money and wealth are distributed fairly in America, while 66 percent say they aren't.URL:
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Comment #11 posted by BGreen on October 26, 2011 at 12:18:19 PT
I have a question I've been dying to ask you but I don't see you here that much. Please check back in a few minutes after I've had a chance to write it and post it.Thanks,The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #10 posted by afterburner on October 26, 2011 at 11:39:53 PT
OT - One Way to Exert some Influence on Congress
Doug Kendall.
Founder and President, Constitutional Accountability Center.
For Super-Committee, It's "Gridlock Grover" Norquist or the Constitution.
Posted: 10/25/11 10:51 PM ET.
Follow  Obama Budget ,  Taxes , Grover Norquist , Budget , Congress Super Committee , Debt Ceiling Super Congress , Super Committee , Super Congress , Politics News thousands of Americans in telling Grover Norquist to knock it off and put the Constitution first, by going to today.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on October 26, 2011 at 11:18:54 PT
The only people that thought it was a freak show were Republicans or the Conservative type. So many liberal issues surfaced during that time. Examples were the right to choose, birth control, stop the Vietnam War etc. 
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Comment #8 posted by Commonsense on October 26, 2011 at 10:49:19 PT
A lot of people were caught up in that in the Sixties. A lot weren't though. For many, the Sixties Revolution was just a freak show they saw on TV, something going on at certain college campuses or way out in California and up in New York. Marijuana was not nearly as ubiquitous as it is now. A far greater percentage of those who were born in the late Forties tried pot than the percentage of those in born in the early Forties and before, but if you look at the statistics less than half of those born in the late Forties report having ever tried marijuana. According to the 2010 NSDUH only 36.5% of those 60 through 64 in 2010 report having ever used marijuana. They were born in 1946 through 1950. If you dig into the numbers further though you can see that around half of all males 60 to 64 in 2010 with at least some college have smoked pot. That's interesting to me because our lawmakers around that age are mostly males with at least some college. I suspect more than half of them have smoked pot, and a far greater percentage of them believe we should legalize it than will publicly admit it. The average age of committee heads in both Congress and the Senate is up in the high sixties. These are the people who decide which bills make it to the floor for a vote. The elders also pretty much set policy and tell junior politicians what the party line is and how they are expected to vote. These elder politicians have so much power and have a lot of control over who thrives in these law making bodies and who doesn't, who has power and who who doesn't. Most of them are people who grew up when hardly anyone was smoking pot, even on college campuses. They're people who statistically are highly likely to genuinely oppose legalization. That is changing though as Baby Boomers age. More and more people likely to support legalization privately are moving into positions of great power. Sooner or later support will be high enough among the public that these people will openly support legalization, and that will help change more minds and help grow support among the public and within our government.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 26, 2011 at 10:17:49 PT
I was born in 47 and was totally caught up in the 60s Revolution even though it was just in my heart. It was a wonderful time of saying we don't want to be like Ozzie and Harriet or Happy Days. We want to be able to decide how we feel about issues ourselves.
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Comment #6 posted by Commonsense on October 26, 2011 at 09:19:25 PT
Didn't mean to sound discouraging
I didn't mean to be too discouraging with that last post. This Gallup poll was super news. Support is growing really fast. Before I thought it was highly unlikely that we'd see pot legalized this decade. Now I'd be much less surprised to see it happen. One thing that is encouraging is the growth in support among older voters. Support was only at 31% for people 65 and older, but that's higher than it's ever been. Boomers born in 1946 are just now turning 65 and many of them came of age in areas where pot use had not really taken off yet. The majority of Boomers born in 1946 have not smoked pot, according to federal data. We're seeing growth in support for marijuana legalization among those who have never smoked pot and didn't have friends growing up who have. These are people who have been vehemently opposed in the past and that opposition is softening. This is a very good thing.Support among those 50 to 64 was at 49%. Gallup's site doesn't show what percentage opposed, but odds are it was less than 49% with 3 or 4 or 5% being undecided. More people in that age group are for legalization than opposed. I believe there are more people in the 50 to 64 age group than in the 65 and over age group, so more than 40% of those 50 and older support legalization. (If there were the same number in each group, 31 plus 49 equals 80 so 40% would support it.) As more of the oldest people die off and more younger people reach fifty and beyond, we'll see support grow just because of the "age out factor." But, as we can see more than just the age out factor is at play here in the way support is growing so we should see some pretty rapid growth in support among the 50 and up group. This is important because people 50 and up out vote younger voters by significant margins. People hit the point in their lives in their fifties when they are most likely to vote and the likelihood that they'll vote does not start diminishing until they get to be in their late seventies. Politicians know this and are very much in tune with what might make these voters more or less likely to vote for them. They're scared of these voters. They woo them, both because they vote in such high numbers and because they tend to have the big bucks to donate to campaigns. When we start seeing support for legalization among these voters top 50%, consistently, it is on. Legalization is right around the corner. Overall support will be over 60%. Those with money who want legalization but have held off on supporting the cause until it looked like their money might actually help get the laws changed will be investing in legalization. Money will be rolling in. Politicians will jump onboard to win votes, and campaign contributions. It won't be long at all when suport tops 50% among voters 50 and over. It is possible that the law could change if support in this group is slightly below 50%, as what would keep support lower than 50% would be the oldest voters who become less likely to vote as they get up past 75, and support among the overall voter population could be well over 60% even if slighlty less than 50% of those 50 and up support legalization. It could happen, but it is more likely that we won't have enough lawmakers to legalize until the majority of voters 50 and older, maybe 45 and older, back it. 
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Comment #5 posted by ekim on October 26, 2011 at 09:16:38 PT
now on NPR Radio Fresh Air 
taking about the drug war in Mexico
book EL Narco 
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Comment #4 posted by Commonsense on October 26, 2011 at 08:02:26 PT
Twenty years
I think it will happen in less than twenty years, but it's unrealistic to think it will happen anytime soon. It's going to take an act of Congress, literally. Right now hardly any of our federal lawmakers will say in public that they beleive marijuana should be legalized. I'm pretty sure it's still below 1% in the federal congress and senate. Could it happen in five years? I guess anything could happen, but it's not likely to happen that quickly at all. I hate to say it but I would bet my life savings that it won't happen in five years and I'd feel like I was making a sure bet. The majority of our lawmakers have to be onboard and they have to get us out of or modify the international treaties and conventions on controlled substances before they vote to legalize.I don't have a crystal ball, but just looking at how support is growing and how slow things work in our lawmaking bodies, I think it could happen by the end of this decade, it's likely to happen in the first half of the next decade, and I'd be very surprised if we make it through the end of the next decade without legalizing. How can we speed things up? We have to convince more in the public that it ought to be legalized. We have to get young people voting, encourage them to vote even at midterm elections and even when there are no marijuana issues on the ballot. Politicians want their vote, but aren't particulalry worried about them. We have to convince more politicians too, but unfortunately what convinces them is money and potential votes. So, we have to get the youth vote out and do a better job of getting pro-legalization people elected. The problem with that is that right now, those who are publicly pro-legalization tend to be part of the fringe element and it's hard to impossible to get them elected. Seeing more and more polls coming out with majority support among voters will change that though in the coming years. The level of support among lawmakers will probably grow to over 50% pretty quickly when it does finally happen. The old geezers who head up most all the important committees will be replaced in the coming years by people who have probably smoked pot. So many in our lawmaking bodies are people who grew up when hardly anyone was smoking pot, especially when it comes to the senior members who wield the most power. That's changing as Baby Boomer politicians age, and as support among the public grows so will support among politicians. You know that way more than 1% actually think it should be legal. Most of the younger ones (early sixties and below) have probably smoked pot, and most are male with at least some college which makes them statistically more likely to have smoked pot and more likely to favor legalization. They're just afraid to get on that bandwagon right now. When support among politicains starts climbing and people see that it's not political suicide, they'll be climbing on the bandwagon in droves. We're just not there yet. We need more support among the people, especially older voters. 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 26, 2011 at 05:17:55 PT
20 Years
That is an unreal statement. We are getting closer to reform now then we have ever been. If we get the Federal Law changed we will be on our way.
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Comment #2 posted by Canis420 on October 25, 2011 at 23:01:45 PT:
Twenty years my eye!
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Comment #1 posted by Paul Pot on October 25, 2011 at 22:48:08 PT:
double standard
 “What we are finding, however, is that California’s laws have been hijacked by people who are in this to get rich and don’t care at all about sick people.”
So how come multi-national pharmaceutical companies are allowed to make billions out of toxic synthetic chemical drugs and the rest are not allowed to profit from what should be a widespread cottage industry bringing wealth back to our rural communities? 
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