According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 56 percent of Americans would support legalizing marijuana and regulating it much as alcohol and tobacco are regulated, while just 36 percent say they’re opposed.
Those are pretty strong numbers, suggesting that criminal law in this country is strongly out of line with public sentiment. We’re sending people to jail — most of them basically kids — and in some cases sticking them with felony criminal records for involvement with a substance that a majority of Americans don’t believe such be criminalized, at least if you believe Rasmussen.
Of course, some people DON’T believe Rasmussen. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, critics of the Rasmussen results argue that the wording of the question skewed the final results. However, I’m not sure that the substitute wording that they suggest would pass muster as unbiased or balanced:
“If they had asked, ‘If you knew that a majority of homicide convicts in New York had smoked marijuana within 24 hours of their convictions, would you be in favor of legalizing it?’ they would have gotten a far different answer,” says David Evans, special adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation. “These questions are so biased and leading, it’s embarrassing.”
If that’s the kind of question that you have to ask to get the poll results you want, you’ve already lost the debate. I imagine that a majority of those New York homicide convicts had also eaten meat within 24 hours of their crime, but I wouldn’t necessarily draw the conclusion that meat had driven them to commit that crime.
And then there’s this, from Gallup:
In addition, marijuana has become Mexico’s leading agricultural export, and all of those “exports” are conducted through smuggling, most of it to the United States. Marijuana “generates billions of dollars in revenues each year for the brutal narcotics cartels,” NPR reports. “By some estimates, it is the most profitable product for the Mexican drug gangs.”
Given those numbers, it’s pretty clear that U.S. drug policy plays some role in the brutal carnage being wreaked in Mexico, where mass slayings occur with tragic regularity.
– Jay Bookman