CONTACT Gallup: Pot support plummets in 2014 - Dr. Christian Thurstone

Support for marijuana legalization has plunged 12 percent since 2013, even among self-identified liberals, according to a new Gallup Poll released today.

The poll showed support for marijuana legalization stands at 51 percent, and opposition is at 47 percent — reflecting a drop of seven percentage points in support of marijuana legalization in the last year. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 points.

“This poll shows legalization is far from inevitable, and the fight to stop it is far from over,” said Kevin A. Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (Project SAM), a group he co-founded with honorary advisor, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy. Dr. Christian Thurstone serves on SAM’s science advisory board. The volunteer-driven organization seeks to reform problematic laws related to marijuana but opposes the addictive drug’s legalization.

“In 2014, marijuana stores opened in Colorado and Washington, and that is right when support plummeted,” Sabet added. “The lesson here is that legalization in theory does not look like legalization in practice. America hates Big Tobacco, so it makes sense that it would turn sour on Big Marijuana.”

The drop in support for legalization reported by Gallup is consistent with another major national poll. Earlier this year, the Public Religion Research Institute found national support for legalized marijuana has fallen from 51 percent in 2013 to 44 percent in 2014.

“In Colorado, revenue numbers are low, the underground market is thriving, and health issues are mounting,” Sabet said. “And, it appears, the public is paying attention.

“Marijuana was generally successful at the ballot in 2014 because of one main reason: money,” he continued. “Proponents spent $9 million to successfully legalize the drug, while opponents raised only about $400,000. Those states essentially heard only that marijuana would be good for them. I’m confident that when we can level the playing field, Americans will reject mainstreaming and commercializing a powerful, new marijuana industry.”

About Christine Tatum

Christine Tatum is a veteran journalist whose communications and market intel firm, Media Salad, Inc., helps companies and nonprofit organizations win business and stay ahead of their competitors. Her professional stops include the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, the (Arlington Heights, Ill.) Daily Herald and the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record. Her work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

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