Cannabis Poll

Even we’re tired of it, but it won’t go away.

An alert reader sent us a link to a story about a recent poll.
To be honest, The Prospect has had more on cannabis recently than we want to, and one more story is too many, but news happens when it does, so we’ll discuss this poll and all such polls.  It wasn’t a very good poll. About a thousand people were called on their phones and asked some questions about cannabis.

The poll is considered valid because it fits into the trends of recent polls; if the answers were very different, the poll would be tossed because it would be assumed the sample wasn’t property stratified. 

The poll contacted people by telephone and asked them questions. Here are a few things wrong with that methodology: 1. Not everyone has a phone; 2. Some people screen their calls; 3. Many people, and most sociologists, won’t answer telephone polls; 4. Busy people won’t take the time to answer; 5. But retired people will.

The corporation which paid for this poll created a headline that stated that most people in the US still don’t want to see cannabis legalized. This is supposed to tell us something, but we can’t be sure what. A dirty little secret of the art of predicting social trends is that most people do what most people do. Public opinion is the product of a complex process; a poll is like plunging a measuring stick into the flow to measure it. You can get a gross estimation of the depth, but only for that instant in time, and the first thing you’ll notice is that the measuring stick itself changes the flow of the water. Polls tell us where the water is flowing right now.

The corporation could have just as easily created the headline from the same poll that nearly 75% of people believe cannabis has a value as medicine. When you take the measuring stick out of the water, the wake effect from the stick stops. For a news agency, the purpose of the poll is to make new waves, new changes in the flow of public opinion. In this instance, the news agency decided that the big news was negative for pot: most Americans still don’t think it should be legalized.

But, if you look through the data a little farther, you’ll see that the preferences are sharply divided by age and political preference. The big news in the piece isn’t that the population is effectively controlled by twenty years and billions of dollars of government propaganda against cannabis and especially those who use it. The big news is that among Republicans, the party of "no", the party of hard headed chauvinistic law and order freaks, the party that hates individual freedom of speech but loves guns, hates people but loves corporations, among those people, more than half still believe that cannabis has medical benefit. That’s the headline: Against a massive tide of paid government hacks, a few people telling the truth have made a significant difference in public opinion.

The more people who believe cannabis should be legalized, the more people will believe cannabis should be legalized. The more people know about this amazingly hardy and useful plant, the stronger pressure will become to legalize not only the drug form, but the far more important hemp form of the plant.

Should cannabis be legalized? While government employees continue to rail against the health risks and social dangers, the growing body of evidence is that it simply isn’t that dangerous and should be legalized. The government talking heads insist that there are too many drugs already available. Clearly they are right, let’s make alcohol illegal again, and make cannabis, a far, far safer drug, legal. But, prohibition against alcohol was even less successful than cannabis prohibition, so maybe government oppression isn’t the answer after all.

Below is a link to the survey, and links to other surveys, all of which show that the trend is towards legalization, taxation, and corporatization.

A P Poll

Want to know what the "druggies" are thinking? Go HERE:


Pro/con on medical pot:

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