Opposition to Legalization Up 8 Points — State Attorneys General Collaborating with Marijuana Industry

The Gallup Poll reports that support for marijuana legalization dropped by 7 points, down to 51 percent from 58 percent last year. The 51 percent support for legalization is similar to the 50 percent support for legalization in 2011 and 2012.

Opposition is greatest among conservatives (31 percent), highest among liberals (73 percent), and in between among moderates (58 percent).

Opposition is also greatest in the South (45 percent) and Midwest (47 percent); while highest on the East and West coasts (57 percent each).

Gallup says support for legalization has clearly increased over the past decade, but the question is whether momentum will build or level off with a bare majority supporting it.

Read Gallup story here.

Marijuana Industry: “’Monumental Meeting’ Culminates with Call for National Marijuana Business Standards”

The turning point for holding the tobacco industry accountable for the damage it does to people, especially teenagers, occurred with the 1998 Tobacco Settlement. As Attorney General for the state of Mississippi from 1988 to 2004, Mike Moore filed a lawsuit against 13 tobacco companies claiming they should reimburse the state for the cost of treating Mississippians with smoking-related illnesses. Nearly all other state attorneys general joined the lawsuit, which culminated in a settlement where tobacco companies agreed to pay $264 billion to the states over 25 years and an unspecified amount in perpetuity afterwards.

As part of the agreement, the tobacco industry promised to end marketing to underage children. No more Joe Camel, a logo recognized by as many 6-year-olds as Mickey Mouse. Ending the power of advertising directed to children paid off. Past 30-day cigarette use plummeted from 19 percent of 8 grade students in 1998 to 4 percent today, from 28 percent of 10th grade students to 7 percent today, and from 35 percent of 12th-grade students to 14 percent today, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey.

But it took a spectacular lawsuit to get there. Imagine what would have happened had the attorneys general instead invited the tobacco industry to sit down with them to develop a “Code of Responsible Practices.” Tobacco czars would have kept their money. State tax payers would still be bearing the cost of treating the tobacco-related illnesses of their citizens instead of the industry whose products made them sick. Joe Camel would have given birth to a second generation of symbols that entice kids into smoking. Teenage smoking almost certainly would have stayed the same or increased. The men and women who served as state attorneys general in the 1990s have saved literally millions of lives by preventing kids from smoking cigarettes.

That’s why we are having such a hard time wrapping our heads around a news story from yesterday’s Marijuana Business Daily. It reports that the Conference of Western Attorneys General invited the marijuana industry to take part in its annual meeting in Hawaii last week (conference materials pictured above) to open a dialogue about how to work together. One outcome of the meeting was the decision to form a committee of attorneys general and marijuana czars to develop, you guessed it, a Code of Responsible Practices “to help govern cannabis companies and promote the trade.”

An industry spokesman “called the conference ‘monumental,’ saying the fact that attorneys general from states where cannabis isn’t even legal are willing to speak to those in the industry is yet another indicator that the marijuana movement is making strides.” He “also said that the sense he got from the 20 attorneys general is that legalization – in some form or another – already feels like a foregone conclusion to them.”

This from people who take an oath to support the federal Constitution and the supremacy of federal law.

Read Marijuana Business Daily article here.

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