Pubdate: Wed, 19 Feb 2014
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)
Copyright: 2014 Star Tribune
Author: Oliver Steinberg
Note: Letter of the Day


Consider the Track Record - the Times When the Question Has Been 
Directly Put to Voters.

Critics have questioned the accuracy of Star Tribune opinion polls 
for quite a few years now, and the latest results should reinforce 
their doubts ("Majority back medical marijuana," Feb. 18). The 
results should be called "outliers," as they record far less support 
for cannabis law reform than other nonpartisan polls have in recent 
years and months.

But the polls that really matter are the elections where people 
actually cast their votes. Since 1996, voters in 11 states and the 
District of Columbia have voted directly in favor of medicinal 
cannabis ballot measures, and only two states have turned it down. In 
Michigan, which is very comparable demographically and geographically 
to Minnesota, medical cannabis carried every single one of the 
state's 83 counties. Therapeutic cannabis beat the past three 
presidents in their political strongholds -- polling better than 
Clinton in California in 1996, better than Bush in Montana in 2004 
and better than Obama in Michigan in 2008.

In 2012, ballot measures either for medical use or general 
legalization were voted on in five states -- east, west, north and 
south. Cannabis reforms won in three out of five, and in every state 
they outpolled one or both of the major-party presidential candidates.

There's no political risk to supporting medicinal cannabis reform 
legislation. And support in Minnesota very likely exceeds what the 
Star Tribune poll purports to measure.

Oliver Steinberg, St. Paul
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom