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Americans Support Marijuana Legalization, But Do They Support Pot Shops?

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Americans Support Marijuana Legalization, But Do They Support Pot Shops?

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Kevin Sabet and the prohibitionist prudes at Project SAMUEL (Smart Approaches to Marijuana Use Except Legalization) claim that recent polls showing 60-percent-plus support for marijuana legalization are skewed because they offer a choice of only prohibition or commercial legalization.

Sabet likes to think that when Americans are offered kinder, gentler drug war options, the support for legalization falls. He thinks that Americans are fine with keeping criminal penalties on commercial production (growing) and retail (dealing) of cannabis, it’s just that they’re concerned about marijuana smokers getting criminal records for simple possession.

The latest poll from NBC News and the Wall St. Journal proves, once again, that Kevin Sabet is wrong about American attitudes toward marijuana.

The poll asked directly whether people would support or oppose a marijuana law in their state “that allowed adults to purchase small quantities of marijuana for their own personal use from regulated, state-licensed businesses.”

Unsurprisingly to everyone but Sabet, 60 percent of the respondents favored a law with licensed retail outlets, similar to how eight states have already legalized marijuana.

It also appears as if the public’s perception of the marijuana stores has improved their view on the issue. When they asked the same question in 2014, support was only 55 percent.

Worse for Sabet, the poll broke down support and opposition according to people’s motivation. Active support for commercial legalization rose from 24 percent in 2014 to 31 percent in 2018. The people who are opposed to legalization and would actively try to overturn it dropped from 19 percent in 2014 to 14 percent in 2018.

Most Harmful Substance 2018 - SOURCE: NBC News / Wall St. Journal, Jan 2018
Most Harmful Substance 2018 – SOURCE: NBC News / Wall St. Journal, Jan 2018

Another question in the poll once again crushes Sabet’s hopes that Americans are scared of today’s highly-potent “Not Your Father’s Woodstock Weed” marijuana.

When given the choice of four substances – tobacco, alcohol, sugar, and marijuana – and asked which one of them is the most harmful to one’s health, marijuana comes in dead last, with just 9 percent who believe it is the most harmful.

That’s a figure that’s barely budged from the 2014 poll, when marijuana again came in fourth place with just 8 percent who said it was most harmful.

All four substances maintained their order from 2014 to 2018, with tobacco the overwhelming number one choice of most harmful substance. Alcohol came in second place, and the 24 percent who believed it was most harmful was unchanged from the two polls.

Interestingly, while sugar came in third place, those who believed it was the most harmful substance increased from 15 percent in 2014 to 21 percent in 2018, coming close to those who believe alcohol is most harmful.

When a drug that’s considered a Schedule I substance, bearing no medical value and as dangerous as heroin, is ranked by the public as less harmful than two legal drugs and an additive found in far too many foods, it’s no wonder 3-in-5 Americans think it ought to be legal and sold over the counter.

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