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ACLU Nationwide Medical Marijuana Opinion Poll

ACLU Says Clinton Lags Way Behind Public on Medical Marijuana

Tuesday, December 31, 1996

NEW YORK -- The American Civil Liberties Union today said the Clinton Administration's uncompromising opposition to legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes is out of step, not only with the voters of Arizona and California, but with public opinion nationwide.

According to a poll conducted for the ACLU by Belden & Russonello, a Washington- based research firm, 83 percent of registered voters nationwide agreed with the following statement: "People who find that marijuana is effective for their medical needs like treating glaucoma and relieving nausea from chemotherapy, should be able to use it legally." Eleven percent disagreed.

A majority of voters favors making marijuana legally available for medical use even in the absence of medical research. In response to the following statement: "Conclusive tests on the possible medical uses of marijuana have not been completed. Would you favor or oppose making marijuana legally available for medical uses, even though testing has not be complete?," 55 percent of the sample were in favor. Forty-two percent were opposed.

"Clinton's uncompromising opposition to medical marijuana is not only inhumane," said Loren Siegel, the ACLU's director of public education. "He is clearly out of step with the public's support for the compassionate use of this drug."

The survey was based on 1,001 telephone interviews with registered voters nationwide. The sample was designed to represent all households in the nation, and the margin of error for the sample size is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.