Recent Action Alerts:
Vancouver, Canada: Three out of four Americans favor the use of fines or probation in lieu of criminal sanctions for marijuana offenders, according to an Angus Reid Public opinion poll of 1,011 US adults.
According to the poll, 74 percent of respondents said that they favored the imposition of “alternative penalties” – such as fines, probation, or community service – rather than prison for those found to have violated marijuana possession laws. By contrast, only 41 percent of respondents favored such penalties for credit card fraud, and only one-third of those polled favored alternative sentencing for drunk driving offenders.
Among Canadian respondents, 78 percent prefer fines in lieu of prison for minor marijuana offenders. Among British respondents, 70 percent endorsed sentencing alternatives.
The margin of error is +/-2.2% for Great Britain, and +/-3.1% for Canada and the United States.
The Angus Reid poll comes just weeks after a national telephone poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that a plurality of Americans now support legalizing and taxing the production and sale of cannabis. According to the poll of 1,000 adults, 47 percent of adults “believe the country should legalize and tax marijuana in order to help solve the nation’s fiscal problems.” Forty-two percent of respondents disagreed, while ten percent were undecided.
In 2011, a nationwide Gallup poll reported that 50 percent of Americans support legalizing the use of cannabis for adults. Forty-six percent of respondents said they opposed the idea. The 2011 Gallup survey results marked the first time that the polling firm, which has tracked Americans’ attitudes toward marijuana since the late 1960s, reported that more Americans support legalizing cannabis than oppose it.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.
Concord, NH: Members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 236 to 96 last week in favor of legislation that would allow for the personal cultivation and use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The veto-proof majority approval came following renewed veto threats by Democrat Gov. John Lynch, who previously rejected a separate, more restrictive medical marijuana measure in 2009.
As passed by the House, Senate Bill 409 allows qualified patients to possess up to four cannabis plants and/or six ounces of marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
Members of the Senate had previously passed the measure in March by a 13 to 11 vote.
Because House members added a fiscal note to the bill, it must now go before the House Finance Committee before returning to the Senate for a concurrence vote. The measure requires three additional Senate votes in order to override Gov. Lynch’s anticipated veto.
Separate legislation — HB 1526, which sought to decriminalize the possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana for adults for non-medical purposes — was rejected by the Senate on Wednesday. The House had previously voted in favor of the measure in March.
For more information on Senate Bill 409, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=61134391.
Hartford, CT: Members of the Connecticut General Assembly decided 95 to 51 last week in favor of legislation to allow for the limited use and distribution of cannabis as medicine. Democrat Gov. Dannel Malloy also backs the measure.
As approved by lawmakers, the Palliative Use of Marijuana Act mandates the state to license a limited number of producers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Qualified patients under this act would be required to obtain their cannabis via licensed pharmacies, which would obtain permits to dispense the substance from the state Department of Consumer Protection.
The measure now goes before the Senate, which has only limited time to act on the bill.
According to a 2012 statewide Quinnipiac University Poll of over 1,600 residents, 68 percent of voters endorse the measure. Pollsters reported, “There is no gender, partisan, income, age or education group opposed” to legalizing marijuana as a physician-recommended therapy.
If enacted, Connecticut will become the 17th state since 1996 to allow for the limited legalization of medicinal cannabis. It will be the fourth New England state to do so.
For more information on Senate Bill 409, please visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=61250041 or contact Connecticut NORML at: http://norml.org/ct/item/connecticut-norml.