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Poll: Support for marijuana law reform surges

2013 Marijuana Policy in the States W IL 8_5x11

MEDIA RELEASE

Mirroring nationwide attitudes, a newly released poll shows sharp increases in support for overhaul of Hawaii marijuana laws.

The new poll, commissioned by Hawaii’s Drug Policy Action Group showed voter support for reform of Hawaii’s policies on marijuana trending upward across the board. Prominent local polling firm QMark Research conducted a statewide, statistically significant poll of 400 Hawaii voters Jan. 17-23, 2014.

Among its findings:

* Today, 77% of Hawaii voters think that jail time is inappropriate for marijuana possession, an increase of 8 percentage points over 2012.

* Furthermore, 66% of voters are in favor of outright legalization for adult use (an increase of 9 percentage points over 2012).

* A large majority of 85% of voters continue to support Hawaii’s medical marijuana program (up 4 percentage points from 2012) while support for a dispensary system so patients do not need to use the black market to find their medication increased sharply to 85%, a 7 percentage point increase over 2012.

Pamela Lichty, president of the Drug Policy Action Group, said: “Around the country and here in Hawaii, voters are fed up with marijuana laws that seem to have been written after watching 1930’s propaganda films like ‘Reefer Madness’. Voters today want reasonable, modern policies that acknowledge marijuana’s value as a medicine, and which address public health and safety, but do not overstate marijuana’s risks as a recreational drug. In 2014, and with 85% of voters in support, we are hopeful Hawaii will establish sensibly controlled dispensaries to ensure safe access to medicine for our medical marijuana patients unable to grow their own, minimizing government interference between a patient & their doctor, and assuring legal access to the most effective treatments for their condition(s).”

Vanessa Chong, executive director of the ACLU of Hawaii, added: “Hawaii is ready to choose incremental, sensible policies like decriminalization over extremely harsh ones that add to the nationwide glut of arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana – further taxing an over-crowded criminal justice system. The signs have never been clearer that Hawaii’s voters want political leaders to find new ways forward on marijuana policy.”

Patients, doctors, caregivers and the public are urged to join the confidential support network “The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii” founded by the Drug Policy Action Group and the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii.

The Drug Policy Action Group, founded in 2004, is a sister organization to the 20 year old Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii. Its mission is to advocate for effective, non-punitive drug policies that minimize economic, social and human costs and to encourage pragmatic approaches based on science and concern for human dignity.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii has been the state’s guardian of liberty since 1965, working daily in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties equally guaranteed to all by the Constitutions and laws of the United States and Hawaii.

— Find out more:
www.mcchi.org

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