Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

Survey: Majority of Americans favor marijuana legalization for first time

WASHINGTON -— For the first time, the General Social Survey — a large, national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research — shows a majority of Americans favoring the legalization of marijuana.

In interviews conducted between March and October of last year — when the legal marijuana markets in Colorado and Washington were ramping up — researchers asked 1,687 respondents the following question: "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or not?"

Fifty-two percent said pot should be legalized, 42 percent opposed it, and another 7 percent were undecided. Support is up 9 percentage points from 2012, the last time the survey was conducted.

The GSS marijuana numbers trace the trajectory of U.S. drug policy over the past 40 years. In 1974, a year after the Shafer Commission recommended removing marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, public support for full legalization stood at 19 percent. Support rose through the 1970s, reaching nearly 30 percent in 1978, only to plummet during the Reagan years, "Just Say No" and the advent of the drug war.

The year 1990 represented the nadir of legalization support, when it stood at 16 percent. But the numbers rose steadily through the 1990s as states began adopting medical marijuana laws, starting with California in 1996. As recently as 2006, support stood only at 32 percent — just a little bit higher than the previous peak in 1978. In the fewer than 10 years since then, support has jumped 20 percentage points — mirroring, in many ways, the dramatic shift in public opinion on gay marriage over the same period.

Legalization supporters have been able to capitalize on that energy and secure full legalization in four states, with a partial legal status in D.C. Opponents have scrambled to catch up, but the sharp and sustained increase in public opinion means they're facing an uphill battle. That fact that they've been drastically outspent at every turn hasn't helped things.

Still, after repeated losses at the ballot box legalization opponents are now turning toward the courts. The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed suit against Colorado. Former DEA administrators and a D.C.-based tough-on-crime group advocating for harsher prison sentences have also rallied to the cause. Additional state-level lawsuits may be coming soon.

For a public increasingly weary of the toll of decades of costly and ineffective drug policies, these cases will be a tough sell. Younger Americans — including Republican ones — overwhelmingly favor marijuana legalization. And after a year of legal pot, Colorado doesn't appear to be experiencing buyer's remorse. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 58 percent of Colorado's voters said they supported the state's marijuana law — slightly more than the 55 percent who approved it in 2012.

The strong numbers in the latest General Social Survey indicate that the issue isn't losing salience with the public. At the national level, support for legal marijuana remains robust — and doesn't show signs of wavering any time soon.

Comments
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — When Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was asked Saturday morning what was the biggest challenge facing the Lightning, he smiled."Everything," he said.That includes Tampa Bay’s quick-strike blueline.Lightning defensemen scored four goals Saturday...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Updated: 4 hours ago
Aquarium reopens to divers

Aquarium reopens to divers

Florida Keys News BureauVisitors to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters dive with among indigenous Keys fish Friday in Marathon. The attraction reopened Friday after closing just before Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Although tourism f...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

MIAMI — With burrowing iguanas showing up in people’s toilets and damaging expensive sewer lines, Florida wildlife managers are stepping up efforts to control the state’s booming population of the wild, invasive reptiles. The Florida Fish and Wildlif...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Fan helps fund Miami Stadium’s historic marker

MIAMI — For thousands of kids who grew up in Miami, going to the old Miami Stadium in the Allapattah neighborhood was a part of coming of age. Opened on Aug. 31, 1949, with a game between the Miami Sun Sox and Havana Cubans, two Class B Florida Inter...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

OCEAN CITY, Md. — Phil Heasley of Naples caught the fish of his life, but the $2.8 million in tournament prize money got away. Heasley reeled in a 6-foot white marlin last year off Maryland’s coast. But in a sign of how concerned some big money tour...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Two die in head-on crash on Gunn Highway in Odessa

ODESSA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a head-on crash on Gunn Highway that killed two and sent a child to the hospital Saturday afternoon.About 12: 45 p.m., Terry Lee Bronschidle, 70, of Tampa was driving his Chevy Traverse south on...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch has won 10 straight after Friday’s victory over Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental league, the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago