FINDINGS SHOW AMERICANS:
OPPOSE LEGALIZATION, SUPPORT MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND
ARE CONFLICTED ON THE POTENTIAL IMPACT TO THE ECONOMY,
TAXES AND THEIR INVESTMENTS
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, April 20, 2010 –With the debate around both legalization and the use of medical marijuana heating up across the country, an AP-CNBC Pollfound that Americans have strong opinions on the topic. Key findings include:
A majority (55%) of Americans oppose the complete legalization of any amount of marijuana, with women (63%) opposing legalization more than men (48%).
Most surveyed (60%) favor legalizing small amounts of marijuana for medical purposes and even more (74%) believe marijuana has a real medical benefit. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents favor this, including Republicans by 53 percent to 36 percent, a reversal of their opposition to blanket legalization.
Assuming legalization, a majority (75%) would have no interest in investing in a private company that was in the business of selling marijuana. However, under half (36%) would sell their investments in a company that went into a marijuana-related business.
“The questions in the AP-CNBC poll drew passionate responses and, in some cases, clearly illustrated how divisive these issues still are for most Americans,” said Allen Wastler, managing editor, CNBC.com. “It is exactly for these reasons that we have decided to take an in-depth look on our site at the complex issue of ‘Marijuana & Money,’ a topic that will be generating heated discussion, strong opinions and headlines for many years to come.”
Most Americans (62%) believe, if legalized, state governments should tax the sale of marijuana, most don’t favor a high rate of tax (36% say 5 percent would be too low, 46% say that 25 percent is too high). Similarly, there was no major consensus on the amount these taxes would contribute to a state’s budget, with 35% believing it would be large and 39% who think it would be small. However, a majority (54%) believes that private businesses and not the government should sell legalized marijuana though Americans are divided on whether regulations for marijuana should be stricter than those for alcohol.
Few people think that the legalization of marijuana would improve the economy. However, people under age 30 were likeliest to expect improvement (58%), those 65+ likeliest to foresee worsening (33%). Most (57%) think it would have no effect on jobs in their community and 65 percent say that legalization would either have no impact on crime or actually reduce crime.
Almost half of people think legalization would have negative health effects and four in ten think it would lead more people to use more serious drugs.
Americans are divided on whether the cost of enforcing today’s marijuana laws is too high. Forty-five percent say it is too high, while 48 percent say the cost is acceptable.
The AP-CNBC poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media from April 7-12 and involved landline and cell phone interviews with a nationally representative probability sample of 1,001 adults age 18 or older. The sample included the contiguous 48 states, Alaska, and Hawaii. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish, depending on respondent preference. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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