Fox News Poll: Record high support for legalizing marijuana
A Fox News Poll published on Thursday shows that 59% of U.S. voters now support the legalization of marijuana. This compares to 51% of voters in 2015 and 46% in 2013, while only 32% of voters now oppose legalizing marijuana, compared to 49% in 2013.
Millennials (72%) are the frontrunners of the legalization movement, followed by Generation Xers (60%). 52% of seniors support the legalization of marijuana.
Two-thirds of Democrats (68%) and independents (67%) favour legalization. Republicans split 46-46%. In 2015, 59% of Republicans were against it. Extremely conservative voters (61%) and white evangelical families (53%) oppose legalization, however, even those numbers reflect a sharp decline in marijuana opposition.
Marijuana is well on its way to legalization in even more states as tax dollars continue to pour in. In that context, the attempts of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to revive the war on drugs seem outdated and futile at best. However, until marijuana is legalized at a federal level, no one can be sure about the future under the Trump administration.
According to Fox News, the poll was based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,002 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from January 21-23, 2018.
Bernie Sanders Launches Petition Against the War on Drugs
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has launched a widespread campaign to legalize marijuana at the federal level and stop the ‘war on drugs’ policy of the U.S. government.
On Wednesday night, the former presidential candidate’s supporters received an email that contained strong criticism against marijuana prohibition and the war in drugs.
“Marijuana prohibition is part of a larger failed war on drugs that has led to the great national crisis of mass incarceration,” Sanders mentioned, also hinting at racial disparities in law enforcement.
“These harmful impacts are felt far more acutely in communities of color and poor communities because enforcement of marijuana laws is much stricter there than in more affluent, white communities. Incredibly, African Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana even though marijuana usage rates are basically the same across racial lines.”
Sanders is asking his supporters to sign an online petition that urges federal lawmakers to treat drugs as a health issue and “invest in programs that focus on treatment and prevention.” He claims that marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug doesn’t make any sense.
“More and more states are moving in the direction of decriminalization. Let them make those decisions without federal interference.”
It’s worth mentioning that in 2015, during his bid for the Democratic nomination, Sanders filed the first-ever marijuana descheduling bill to be introduced in the U.S. Senate, which ended up getting no co-sponsors. Since then, Sanders hasn’t introduced any new marijuana bills, but he sponsored the cannabis banking legislation filed by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Maine becomes the first state to protect marijuana users outside of work
In a historic move, Maine became the first state to protect marijuana use outside of work. What this means is that Maine employers are as of now prohibited from discriminating against future or current adult employees based on their marijuana use outside of work.
While Maine is not the only state to have legalized recreational marijuana, it’s currently the only one to prevent employers from enforcing anti-cannabis policies. However, as local policies become friendlier, we should start seeing more states following Maine’s example. Of course, Maine employers are still free to ban marijuana use on their business premises.
First Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Texas Open For Business
This week marked the opening of the first medical marijuana dispensary in Texas. The dispensary named Compassionate Cultivation is about 25 miles south of Austin, according to local news outlets.
There are currently not many patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program, even though it’s been three years since Governor Greg Abbott signed the Compassionate Use Act into law, allowing Texas patients suffering from some types of epilepsy to obtain cannabis oil as an alternative to opioid drugs.
However, until now, even qualifying patients had to either wait until the first dispensary opens or smuggle CBD oil from legal states. The opening of the Compassionate Cultivation is a historic moment for Texas patients (especially those around the Austin area) and we certainly hope much more will follow.
This Week in Marijuana Stocks
- One of the biggest publicly traded tobacco companies in the world, Alliance One International (with the ticker name AOI on the NYSE), has completed a deal acquiring a 75% equity of Canadian marijuana producers Island Garden, while it also purchased an 80% stake in N.Carolina based Goldleaf Pharm. Further details were not disclosed.
- Cannabis investment firm ArcView group now estimates that the legal North American marijuana sales will surpass $8B in 2017, marking a 22% increase from last year. ArcView projects that sales will grow exponentially, reaching $22.6B at the end of 2021. Also, Canada’s projected marijuana legalization fuels investors speculation: The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJX), an ETF that trades marijuana stocks has returned 14% since mid-December.