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Poll: Majority of New Jerseyans support marijuana decriminalization

In 1972 there was a distinct gender gap on this question, with women significant less likely to support reduced penalties for use. Over the past 40 years, support among men is little changed at 56 percent, but support among women has grown dramatically from 37 percent in 1972 to 54 percent today.

More than half of respondents agree that penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana should be eliminated; about one-third agreed 40 years ago. As with the question about use, the gap between Republicans and Democrats has grown. In 1972, 38 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans supported eliminating penalties for possession. Today 60 percent of Democrats are in favor, as well as 42 percent of Republicans. Independents have also become more lenient; 56 percent now say penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana should be eliminated. Previously, 45 percent felt the same.

Most age groups support eliminating possession penalties today, except for those in their 40s, who favor penalties by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin. This is in spite of the fact that the same group does support reducing penalties for use, by a 52 percent to 39 percent margin.

“Those in their 40s came of age primarily during the Reagan-Bush years, which was an era of strong negative messages about drugs,” Redlawsk said. “The results seem to be reflected here, with this group significantly less supportive of reduced penalties for use and possession than most others.”

In the early 1970s, education seemed to be a significant indicator of support for decriminalizing some marijuana offenses, with support increasing with the level of education. Today there is little difference among voters with different levels of education.

While generally supporting reduced penalties for possession and use of small amounts of marijuana, N.J. voters remain adamantly opposed to complete legalization. Only 35 percent would support legalizing the sale and the use of marijuana, though this is substantially higher than the 21 percent reported in 1972.

Voters of all political leanings show increased support since 1972, with Democrats nearly doubling support to 40 percent (up 19 points), followed by independents at 37 percent (up from 30 percent) and Republicans at 24 percent, who also nearly double their 14 percent support 40 years ago.

The historical data shows that in the early 1970s, younger people were more likely to favor the complete legalization of marijuana than older people. The same holds today, as those over 60 are more than 10 points less likely to support legalization than other age groups.

“Issues surrounding marijuana remain similar to where they were 30 or 40 years ago, when we last asked, but voters have become a bit more liberal over the years,” Redlawsk said. “Even so, people continue to stop short at complete legalization, except for medical use. There simply does not seem to be any momentum for going much further than that.”

Pollsters surveyed 753 registered N.J. voters between Nov. 9 and 12. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent The 1972 results are from a poll of 1218 registered voters.


Comments (5)
5 Monday, 12 December 2011 17:25
Hopefully, other states will follow suit:
4 Thursday, 01 December 2011 16:59
The War on Drugs Machine

At the top is the ONDCP,and their job is to make sure all the cogs in the machine run smoothly or as smoothly as they can,when you are coordinating several federal bureaucratic agencies that may be in competition for budget dollars with their allies.

Under the ONDCP'S budget the following agencies split up the 16 billion tax dollars alloted to keep drugs out of America:

III. Agency Budget Summaries
Department of Defense .................. 23
Department of Education ................. 33
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ............ 41
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration ...........45
National Institute on Drug Abuse ......... 63
Indian Health Service ......... 73
Department of Homeland Security
Customs and Border Protection ............. 79
Immigration and Customs Enforcement............. 89
United States Coast Guard........... 95
Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement.......... 103
Department of the Interior
Bureau of Indian Affairs ............... 109
Department of Justice
Bureau of Prisons ................ 115
Drug Enforcement Administration....... 121
Interagency Crime and Drug Enforcemen....... 129
Office of Justice Programs ...... 137
National Drug Intelligence Center ......... 145

And the page number to see how many millions/billions of tax dollars each agency receives yearly,,so it is true that drug prohibition is "all about the money"

You can research the above at :

So when anyone advocates legalization of marijuana,,you are threatening thousands of federal employees,bureaucratic empires and just good old boys that think locking people up and continuing to spend our tax dollars without any success is the "right approach".
3 Thursday, 01 December 2011 15:08
Brandt Hardin
Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster featuring Uncle Willie Nelson and The Teapot Party for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at Drop in and let me know what you think!
2 Wednesday, 30 November 2011 15:15
How we can end this "war on potheads" ? Utilize jury nullification take your case to trial by jury and argue to the jury that the law is wrong! As the polls suggest most Americans believe in legalization. These same people would end up on juries.

Please follow my case at
1 Wednesday, 30 November 2011 12:06
Mike Parent
The reason is the country has been fed a steady diet of taxpayer funded propaganda for over 70 years.
The government has used half truth and outright lies to prop up their morally bankrupt laws.
The simple and proper solution is to legalize and regulate marijuana exactly as we do alcohol. Kill the Black Market and take distribution away from criminals and put it in the hands of honest, taxpaying, responsible business people. The govt dismisses every study that goes against their dogmatic position. They've taken to being criminally stubborn.
Considering the laws were conceived, born and nurtured from lies, racism and greed, it's astonishing how generations of politicians have held it so near to their hearts, especially when they know the truth. Look at the Presidents statements before the election and the position he's taken, after it. There's something fishy about the whole process. Yet we still spend billions of dollars and cage a million Americans annually pursuing this morally bankrupt policy.
Dems and Reps, different pages from the same bad book!
NYPD, ret. LEAP member

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