Is Marijuana Legalization Losing Popularity?

Considering that California’s recent marijuana legalization efforts failed to come to fruition, you’d think the movement would lose momentum. But that's not the case.

While this certainly puts things back a bit, pro-legalization fans have not gotten quieter.

California's Spring Loss

In 2010, California's Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana, was defeated by such a narrow margin that another chance next time around–in 2012–seemed like a given. But it wasn't. By April of this year, Proposition 19 redux committees in California failed to collect the 500,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, probably due to a lack of funding. As one article pointed out, the legalization's need for cash was never a secret. It would take an estimated $2 million to collect the needed signatures, and another $2 million to run the campaign.

And the threatenings of the feds to come down hard on violators of federal drug regulations didn’t help much either.

Federal Law vs. State Law

The dilemma of marijuana legalization cracks down to this: While medical marijuana is legal under laws in 17 states (including California) and the District of Columbia, federal law says any use of marijuana is illegal.

And the Feds have diligently increased enforcement actions around state medical marijuana laws, raiding dispensaries and growers at a faster rate under the Obama Administration than the second term of George W. Bush.

Perhaps, after seeing the results of the movement’s latest failure, we can conclude that the raids seem be working and are deterring the movement's growth; however, some can argue that the anger aimed at the feds have add fresh vigor to the whole movement.

Marijuana Legalization Poll Results

Federal Polls

Recent polls show that more people seem to be in favor of a hands-off federal approach to state affairs. A Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, Inc. of Washington, D.C. surveyed 1,000 likely 2012 general election voters to discover that a high percentage of voters approved of the federal officials should respect state laws regarding medical marijuana.

  • 74% of voters nationally said the president should respect state laws
  • 67%  of Republicans believe federal officials should respect state laws on medical marijuana.
  • 75% of Democrats believe federal officials should respect state laws on medical marijuana.
  • 79% of Independents believe federal officials should respect state laws on medical marijuana.

The Mason-Dixon Poll on marijuana legalization did not have a majority of votes, but a Rasmussen Report survey conducted in early May of this year found 56% of voters favored authorizing and regulating cannabis sales like alcohol and tobacco sales.

California's State Polls

A poll conducted by the University of Southern California Dornsife/Los Angeles Times showed that nearly half of voters polled would support legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

  • 80% of voters support doctor-recommended marijuana use for severe illness
  • 46% of voters support legalization of marijuana for recreational use
  • 50% of voters oppose legalization of marijuana for recreational use

According to a poll of about 1,000 registered voters taken May 17-21, 2012, statewide,

  • 55% of voters in San Francisco Bay Area favored legalization (making it the only region of the state where a majority favors legalization).
  • 41% of southern California favored legalization
  • 49% of Los Angeles County favored legalization

Common Ground

Whether or not you agree with one side or the other, here’s one thing nearly everyone agrees on: It’s not wise to tamper with drugs, whether they’re legalized or not.

Marijuana may not have an impressive array of adverse effects, but that doesn’t guarantee its safety or mean its good for your health. (Unless you are among the select few taking it for medical purposes.) And it certainly doesn’t make marijuana less expensive either.

Plus, marijuana is an addictive substance. One quarter of California’s drug treatment admissions were for marijuana, according to the Treatment Episode Data Set. Addicting substance tend to take control of your life, and (as dramatic as this sounds), addicting substances can even ruin your life. Don’t fall into the trap of believing it’s safe enough, and you’re strong enough.

You see, whether it’s legal or illegal to do so, the choice to buy and use marijuana ultimately depends on you. Not the state, not the feds, and not your friends. You.

Make the right choice. Make the smart choice–and be safe.

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