An “own goal” in hockey or soccer happens when a player inadvertently scores for the other team. In the case of the pot-hating policy wonks at Project SAMUEL (Smart Approaches to Marijuana Use… Except Legalization), they’ve scored two own goals in the past year.
First was a poll in Illinois they commissioned from Mason-Dixon back in February. Today, it’s a poll conducted by Emerson College in New York. In both cases, Project SAMUEL is trying to play a statistical game to convince the public that over two-thirds of Americans don’t support the legalization of marijuana.
Project SAMUEL thinks it is a “false dichotomy” to poll people on their support for legalization vs. prohibition. Instead, they want to set a Goldilocks frame, where prohibition is “too hard,” legalization is “too soft,” but a system that punishes marijuana consumers with fines and imprisons cannabis cultivators and pot dealers is “just right.”
So, to set that frame, they commission these polls that ask voters in Illinois and New York to choose from four choices:
- Legalize, tax, and regulate all adult use of marijuana;
- Keep the state’s medical marijuana law and decriminalization law;
- Keep the decriminalization but repeal the medical marijuana law;
- Repeal both the medical marijuana and the decriminalization.
When these multiple choices are offered, Project SAMUEL crows, majorities oppose legalization. In the case of Illinois, only 23 percent supported it.
The problem for Project SAMUEL is that the Mason-Dixon poll showed that only 18 percent supported its position: make all marijuana use illegal.
In other words, even in Project SAMUEL’s push poll, more Illinoisans support legalization than support prohibition. Even worse, the plurality of 47 percent of Illinoisans thought the status quo, the medical marijuana law and the decriminalization law that Project SAMUEL opposed, was the way to go. Another 4 percent thought decriminalization sans medical marijuana was preferable. That makes 74 percent who think some form of marijuana tolerance is preferable to prohibition.
The New York poll released today is even worse for Project SAMUEL. While they’re applauding that a majority of New Yorkers didn’t choose legalization, the fact is that a plurality of 45 percent did, compared to the tiny 9 percent who support their position of prohibition. That’s five times as many New Yorkers who support legal marijuana than illegal marijuana.
This time around, Project SAMUEL switched up question 3 to be a repeal of decrim while keeping medical marijuana (presumably figuring they’d get more hate for potheads than patients), but it didn’t help their propaganda effort any. When you figure that 23 percent of New Yorkers like the status quo of medical marijuana and decriminalization and another 18 percent supported medical marijuana sans decriminalization, that makes 86 percent that preferred some measure of marijuana tolerance to Project SAMUEL’s call for prohibition.
Keep polling, boys… I smell a hat trick comin’…