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Article: The Americas on Drugs [results culled from recent polls]

  1. grandbaby
    Source: http://thetyee.ca/Mediacheck/2006/05/11/AmericasDrugs/


    Note: links lead to posts further down this page, copied from Angus Reid's website. This was done to break up what would otherwise have been huge chunks of text.

    ****

    The Americas on Drugs

    Some North and South American views about narcotics and the law.

    By Angus Reid
    Published: May 11, 2006



    TheTyee.ca

    [Editor's note: This is part of a Tyee series sharing the global scan of Angus Reid Consultants, Vancouver-based leaders in public opinion analysis.]

    While Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ponders whether to allow Vancouver's safe-injection site to remain in operation and churns up controversy by pledging mandatory sentences for making and selling hard drugs, Mexico recently came razor close to decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other narcotics. Here's a quick glance at some interesting international opinion about drugs and the law.

    In Canada, 75 percent of respondents would not vote for a candidate who used cocaine or heroin. If the substance is marijuana, opposition to a politician drops to 26 percent. For more information, click here

    In both Canada and the U.S., a majority of respondents think marijuana-related arrests should not necessarily lead to a criminal record. For more information, click here

    In Alaska, most residents are opposed to a plan that would prohibit the possession of any amount of marijuana for personal use in the state. For more information, click here

    In Nevada, home to Las Vegas, a poll showed only 43 percent in favour of changing tough, existing laws. In the U.S., questions regarding the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana have never been approved in a public vote. For more information, click here

    In the United States, 65 percent of Americans think medical marijuana should remain legal and 68 percent think the federal government should not prosecute patients. For more information, click here

    Mexicans last year were not thrilled with the prospects of marijuana decriminalization-only 26.4 percent supported the proposal. For more information, click here

    In Chile, traditionally the most conservative country in Latin America, a clear majority regards marijuana as a harmful drug. For more information, click here

    In Peru, the enforcement of a ban on the cultivation of coca leaf split public views last year. For more information, click here

    And one more interesting poll result, this from the Old World:
    Britain established a clear difference between soft and hard drugs, with a clear majority typifying marijuana possession as either permissible or as a minor offence. For more information, click here

Comments

  1. grandbaby
    Canadians Have Zero Tolerance for Political Corruption

    October 29, 2005

    (Angus Reid Global Scan) – Most adults in Canada would immediately stop supporting politicians who committed dishonest acts, according to a poll by Leger Marketing. At least 90 per cent of respondents would not vote for candidates who had accepted illegal campaign donations, or cheated on their taxes.

    At least 75 per cent of respondents would not back a candidate who was arrested for shoplifting, was guilty of drinking and driving, or admitted to having used hard drugs, like cocaine or heroin. Tolerance is higher for politicians who helped friends or relatives get hired into government job, admitted to having a drinking problem, or had smoked marijuana.

    Earlier this month, former Quebec provincial cabinet minister André Boisclair admitted to having used cocaine in the 1990s. Boisclair has been the favourite in the race to replace Bernard Landry as leader of the separatist Parti Québécois. The election will take place in November.

    Liberal leader Paul Martin took over as Canada’s prime minister in December 2003. In the June 2004 election, the Liberals secured a minority government with 135 seats in the House of Commons. Last year, Martin called a public inquiry into the federal sponsorship program—initiated during the tenure of prime minister Jean Chrétien to promote Canada in Quebec—after auditor-general Sheila Fraser concluded that approximately $75 million U.S. of the program’s budget was paid to Liberal-friendly advertising firms for little or no work.

    Justice John Gomery was put in charge of the investigation, and is expected to deliver his final report in February 2006. Martin has vowed to hold a federal election "within 30 days of the publication of the commission’s final report and recommendations."

    Polling Data

    Would you still vote for your favourite candidate for political or government office if you suddenly learned the following:

    (Only "No" answers listed)

    Had accepted illegal campaign donations 96%
    Had cheated on their taxes 90%
    Was arrested for shoplifting 80%
    Was guilty of drinking and driving 75%
    Admitted to having used hard drugs, like cocaine or heroin 75%
    Helped friends or relatives get hired into government job 57%
    Admitted to having a drinking problem 39%
    Admitted to having smoked marijuana 26%

    Source: Leger Marketing
    Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,547 Canadian adults, conducted from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16, 2005. Margin of error is 2.4 per cent.
  2. grandbaby
    Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research

    Similar Views On Marijuana Arrests In Canada, U.S.

    May 11, 2005

    (Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in Canada and the United States believe in more lenient penalties for the handling of cannabis, according to a poll by Ipsos-Reid for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Canada Institute on North American Issues. 59 per cent of Canadian respondents—and 57 per cent of American respondents—think the conviction of possession of marijuana should not always result in a criminal record.

    In November 2004, the Canadian federal government re-introduced a controversial bill that seeks "alternate penalty frameworks" for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. If the bill passes, any person caught with 15 grams of the drug or less would face fines instead of criminal charges.

    In July 2002, Canada became the first nation in the world to regulate the consumption of marijuana for medical reasons. Last month, the Canadian government authorized the use of Sativex—a medicine derived from cannabis. The drug will be used to provide neuropathic pain relief for people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

    In the U.S., several petitions to "reschedule" marijuana and remove it from a specific category of restricted substances have been filed in the courts.

    Polling Data

    Do you agree or disagree with this statement: "The conviction of possession of marijuana should always result in a criminal record."

    ................Agree.....Disagree
    Canadians 39%.......59%
    Americans 42%.......57%

    Source: Ipsos-Reid / Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars / Canada Institute on North American Issues
    Methodology: Telephone interviews to 1,000 adult Canadians and 1,000 adult Americans, conducted from Apr. 5 to Apr. 7, 2005. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.
  3. grandbaby
    Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research

    Alaskans Satisfied with Existing Marijuana Laws

    March 26, 2006

    (Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in Alaska support a ruling by their state’s Supreme Court on the issue of cannabis possession, according to a poll by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research. 50 per cent of respondents favour allowing adults to keep up to four ounces of marijuana for personal use in their homes.
    The 1975 Alaska State Supreme Court ruling was reaffirmed in 2004. In November 2004, 56 per cent of voters in Alaska rejected a proposal to "legalize the cultivation, use and sale of marijuana for persons 21 and older" in a statewide vote.

    In June 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can block the cultivation of cannabis for personal use, citing broader social and financial implications. The 6-3 decision effectively allows the federal government to override state legislation.

    Ten U.S. states—Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington—allow the use of marijuana under medical supervision.

    Alaska governor Frank Murkowski has proposed a law that would prohibit the possession of any amount of marijuana for personal use in the state. 56 per cent of respondents are opposed to this plan.

    Polling Data

    The Alaska State Supreme Court has ruled that the privacy provision of the state constitution allows adults to possess up to four ounces of marijuana for personal use in their homes. Overall, do you strongly favour, somewhat favour, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this ruling?

    Strongly favour 28%
    Somewhat favour 22%
    Somewhat oppose 14%
    Strongly oppose 33%
    Not sure 3%

    In response to this ruling by the State Supreme Court, Alaska governor Frank Murkowski has proposed a law that would prohibit possession by Alaskans of any amount of marijuana for personal use. Overall, do you strongly favour, somewhat favour, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this proposed law?

    Strongly favour 30%
    Somewhat favour 13%
    Somewhat oppose 17%
    Strongly oppose 39%
    Not sure 1%

    Source: Goodwin Simon Strategic Research
    Methodology: Telephone interviews with 500 Alaskan voters, conducted from Mar. 6 to Mar. 11, 2006. Margin of error is 4.3 per cent.
  4. grandbaby
    Pot Decriminalization Splits Nevada

    March 28, 2004


    (CPOD) Mar. 28, 2004 – A plan to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana has divided voters in Nevada, according to a poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 48 per cent of respondents would oppose the proposal, while 43 per cent would support it.

    The plan—to be put to a vote in the Nov. 2 election—would decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for private use by people over 21 years of age. In 2002, 61 per cent of Nevadans voted against a similar idea, which would have decriminalized the possession of three ounces of marijuana.

    Questions regarding the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana have never been approved in a public vote in the United States. Under Nevada regulations, the possession of an ounce or less of the drug is considered a misdemeanour, and carries a fine of $600 U.S.

    Polling Data


    Would you support or oppose a proposal to decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for adults who use it privately?


    Support 43%
    Oppose 48%
    Undecided 9%

    Source: Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. / Las Vegas Review-Journal
    Methodology: Interviews to 625 registered Nevada voters, conducted from Mar. 15 to Mar. 17, 2004. Margin of error is 4 per cent.
  5. grandbaby
    Americans Urge for Restraint on Medical Marijuana

    June 16, 2005

    (Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the United States believe a recent court decision should not bring immediate prosecutions for people who use cannabis under a doctor’s orders, according to a poll by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. for the Marijuana Policy Project. 68 per cent of respondents believe the federal government should not prosecute medical marijuana patients.

    On Jun. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can block the cultivation of cannabis for personal use, citing broader social and financial implications. The 6-3 decision effectively allows the federal government to override state legislation.

    Ten American states—Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington—allow the use of marijuana under medical supervision. Arizona has implemented a similar law, but has no formal regulations on the prescription of cannabis. 65 per cent of respondents believe the use of marijuana under a doctor’s orders should remain legal, while 20 per cent disagree.

    Cannabis has been prescribed to ease the symptoms of people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, AIDS and cancer. Several petitions to "reschedule" marijuana and remove it from a specific category of restricted substances have been filed in U.S. courts.

    Polling Data



    Should the federal government prosecute medical marijuana patients now that it has been given the okay to do so by the U.S. Supreme Court?



    Yes 16%
    No 68%
    Not sure 16%


    Do you think adults should be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor recommends it, or do you think that marijuana should remain illegal even for medical purposes?



    Legal 65%
    Illegal 20%
    Undecided 10%


    Source: Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. / Marijuana Policy Project
    Methodology: Telephone interviews to 732 registered American voters, conducted from Jun. 8 to Jun. 11, 2005. Margin of error is 3.7 per cent.
  6. grandbaby
    Mexico Deeply Divided on Social Issues

    July 5, 2005
    (Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many Mexican adults believe euthanasia should be allowed, according to a poll by Consulta Mitofsky. 57.6 per cent of respondents agree with a proposal to legalize "assisted dying."
    In May, members of the opposition Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) in the Chamber of Deputies presented a proposal which seeks to decriminalize euthanasia. In Mexico, assisting a person to commit suicide is a crime punishable by up to 12 years in prison.


    Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera decried the proposal, saying, "Euthanasia means killing a person." Catholics make up close to 90 per cent of the Latin American country’s population.


    In Mexico, abortion is allowed only in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk. 47.9 per cent of respondents would allow women to decide freely on the topic, while 51 per cent disagree.


    Support is decidedly lower for proposals to permit same-sex marriage and legalize the consumption of marijuana. 60.5 per cent of respondents disagree with granting wedlock to gay and lesbian partners, and 71.8 per cent reject enacting laws that would allow any person to use cannabis.


    Polling Data

    Some members of the Chamber of Deputies have presented a proposal to legalize "assisted dying" or euthanasia in our country. The possibility would be contemplated for terminally-ill patients with the consent of their families. Would you agree or disagree with the legalization of "assisted dying" or euthanasia in Mexico?


    Agree 57.6%
    Disagree 40.4%
    Not sure 2.0%




    In Mexico, abortion is allowed only in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk. Several groups have proposed allowing women to decide freely on the issue. Would you agree or disagree with the legalization of abortion in Mexico?

    Agree 47.9%
    Disagree 51.0%
    Not sure 1.1%




    Groups representing homosexuals and lesbians have demanded the right to get married, which would allow them to have the same rights (such as inheritance and insurance) of any heterosexual couple. Would you agree or disagree with the legalization of same-sex marriage in Mexico?

    Agree 37.2%
    Disagree 60.5%
    Not sure 2.3%



    In recent weeks, there has been much discussion about enacting laws that would allow the legalization of specific drugs, such as marijuana. Would you agree or disagree with decriminalizing marijuana and other drugs?

    Agree 26.4%
    Disagree 71.8%
    Not sure 1.8%


    Source: Consulta Mitofsky
    Methodology: Telephone interviews to 500 Mexican adults, conducted on May 14, 2005. Margin of error is 4 per cent.



  7. grandbaby
    Chile Against Marijuana Legalization

    July 4, 2003
    (CPOD) Jul. 4, 2003 - Chileans are not overly supportive of a senator's push to legalize drugs, according to a poll by Opina published in El Mercurio. 72.5 per cent of respondents think legal consumption of marijuana will result in more users, and 86.5 per cent believe the drug is harmful.

    In order to counter drug traffickers in the country, independent senator Nelson Ávila recently introduced a proposal to legalize public consumption of marijuana. Private consumption carries no penalty under current legislation.

    Polling Data

    Do you think legalizing public consumption of marijuana will result in more users?

    Yes 72.3%
    No 16.5%

    Do you believe marijuana is a harmful drug?

    Yes 86.5%
    No 13.3%

    Source: Opina / El Mercurio
    Methodology: Interviews to 400 Chilean citizens, conducted from Jun. 21 to Jun. 23 in Santiago. Margin of error is 5 per cent.
  8. grandbaby
    Coca Leaf Ruling Splits Views in Peru

    October 21, 2005
    (Angus Reid Global Scan) – Adults in Peru’s metropolitan area are divided over a recent court decision, according to a poll by Universidad de Lima. 43.5 per cent of respondents in Lima and Callao agree with the Constitutional Tribunal’s decision to uphold a ban on the cultivation of coca leaves, while 48.3 per cent disagree.

    In July, the Peruvian government announced its intention to seek legal action against Cuzco’s regional administration for authorizing the cultivation of coca leaves. The Peruvian government claimed the order contravened existing national directives.

    In September, Peru’s foremost tribunal ruled that Cuzco’s government—headed by Carlos Cuaresma—had acted "against the constitution" when it permitted the "unrestrained" cultivation of coca leaves.
    Cuaresma expressed dissatisfaction with the decision, and urged Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo to participate in "a very serious debate" to establish guidelines for the use of coca leaves for "medicinal purposes" not related to drug trafficking.

    Polling Data


    Do you agree or disagree with the Constitutional Tribunal’s decision to uphold a ban on the cultivation of coca leaves?

    Agree 43.5%
    Disagree 48.3%
    Not sure 7.2%
    No reply 1.1%

    Source: Universidad de Lima
    Methodology: Interviews to 630 Peruvian adults in Lima and Callao, conducted on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, 2005. Margin of error is 3.9 per cent.
  9. grandbaby
    Britons Assess “Soft” And “Hard” Drugs

    January 28, 2004
    (CPOD) Jan. 28, 2004 – British residents firmly believe the sale and possession of "hard" drugs should remain a criminal offence, according to a poll by YouGov published in the Daily Telegraph. 89 per cent of respondents believe heroin and crack cocaine should be illegal.

    The public holds more flexible views when assessing "soft" drugs. Only 43 per cent of respondents say the possession and sale of cannabis should remain a criminal offence.

    A majority of Britons argues for either the decriminalization or the legalization of "soft" drugs. 28 per cent say the possession and sale of marijuana should be treated as a "minor offence," and 23 per cent argue for full acceptance.

    Support is significantly lower for both policies when it comes to "hard" drugs.


    Polling Data


    With regard to hard drugs --such as heroin and crack cocaine-- and soft drugs --such as cannabis-- which of these statements comes closest to your own view?



    The sale and possession of such drugs should remain a criminal offence as now
    "Hard" 89%
    "Soft" 43%

    The sale and possession of such drugs should remain illegal but should be regarded as a minor offence, such as parking in the wrong place, rather than a criminal offence
    "Hard" 4%
    "Soft" 28%

    The sale and possession of such drugs should no longer be illegal
    "Hard" 5%
    "Soft" 23%

    Source: YouGov / The Daily Telegraph
    Methodology: Interviews to 2,536 British adults, conducted from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, 2004. No margin of error was provided.
  10. stoneinfocus
    there we go with hard and soft .. wtf ? no chance.
  11. grandbaby
    I know. The distinction makes little sense to anyone who thinks about it a bit. But I reproduced these articles (sorry if it's information overload — once I started I couldn't stop) because they give some sense of public perceptions of illegal psychoactives. And if we're going to work toward changing attitudes toward so-called "drugs", the first thing to do is to find out what current attitudes are.

    I found Latin America's comparative puritanism surprising; I guess it's a holdover from centuries of ingrained Catholicism?
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