Three out of four Americans favor the use of fines or probation in lieu of criminal sanctions for marijuana offenders, according to an Angus Reid Public opinion poll
of 1,011 US adults.
According to the poll, 74 percent of respondents said that they favored the imposition of “alternative penalties” – such as fines, probation, or community service – rather than prison for those found to have violated marijuana possession laws. By contrast, only 41 percent of respondents favored such penalties for credit card fraud, and only one-third of those polled favored alternative sentencing for drunk driving offenders.
Among Canadian respondents, 78 percent prefer fines in lieu of prison for minor marijuana offenders. Among British respondents, 70 percent endorsed sentencing alternatives.
The margin of error is +/-2.2% for Great Britain, and +/-3.1% for Canada and the United States.
The Angus Reid poll comes just weeks after a national telephone poll
conducted by Rasmussen Reports found that a plurality of Americans now support legalizing and taxing the production and sale of cannabis. According to the poll of 1,000 adults, 47 percent of adults “believe the country should legalize and tax marijuana in order to help solve the nation's fiscal problems.” Forty-two percent of respondents disagreed, while ten percent were undecided.
In 2011, a nationwide Gallup poll
reported that 50 percent of Americans support legalizing the use of cannabis for adults. Forty-six percent of respondents said they opposed the idea. The 2011 Gallup survey results marked the first time that the polling firm, which has tracked Americans' attitudes toward marijuana since the late 1960s
, reported that more Americans support legalizing cannabis than oppose it.