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Public Opinion Turns in Favor of Weed

Latest poll numbers show a majority favor pot reform.

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The pro-weed public opinion bullet train has now entered the state of Michigan and has carried a majority of voters with it, at least according to poll data released earlier this month by Epic-MRA pollsters.

A majority of respondents in the Sept. 13 poll, conducted by Epic-MRA for Michigan NORML, the state branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, comes on the heels of local activists attempting to lay the foundation for legislation aiming to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana or a possible legalization initiative.

Full statistics were not available at press time, but Epic-MRA detailed its methods for the poll, including its inclusion of 600 likely voters; the poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Preliminary results include that a near majority, 47 percent, supports legalizing marijuana by taxing and regulating it like alcohol, with another 16 percent saying they favored decriminalization; and 4 percent said they wanted all criminal penalties for marijuana offenses repealed.

All told, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of Michiganders expressed a desire to relax the pot laws. Only one out of four respondents, 26 percent, favored no change in the law.

The results show a continuing shift in public sentiment toward legalizing the drug, said Bernie Porn, president of Epic-MRA.

“I think that people are changing their opinions about marijuana,” Porn said. “There is a receptivity to legalization and the realization that you don’t need to have law enforcement spending the kind of time that they devote to the crimes that people are convicted of because of current marijuana laws.”

Neil Yashinsky, executive director of Michigan NORML’s Oakland County chapter, told the Detroit Free Press he was encouraged by the survey results.

“Eventually, the politicians will catch up with the people. They will reflect the values of their constituents” and pass a decriminalization effort, he said.

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