20 Feb New Ipsos MORI Poll Shows 53% Of GB Public Want Cannabis Legalised Or Decriminalised

Transform logoA new poll by Ipsos MORI, commissioned by Transform Drug Policy Foundation, shows that over half of the public (53%) support cannabis legalisation (legal regulation of production and supply) or decriminalisation of possession of cannabis. Only 1 in 7 support heavier penalties and more being spent on enforcement for cannabis offences. In addition, the survey shows that around two thirds (67%) support a comprehensive independent review of all the possible policy options (from legal market regulation to tougher enforcement) for controlling drugs.

The findings indicate that 45% of mid-market newspaper readers (including Daily Mail and Express readers) support cannabis legalisation (legal regulation of production and supply) or decriminalisation of possession of cannabis, with less than one in five (17%) supporting heavier penalties and more being spent on enforcement for cannabis offences. For tabloid readers these figures are 47% and 20%. Around 65% of mid-market newspaper readers and 66% of tabloid readers support a full review of all drug policy options.

Additional survey findings include:

  • 53% of the public support legal regulation or decriminalisation of cannabis – 50% of Conservative supporters and 55% of Labour supporters also support these options, as do 46% of Daily Mail readers
  • Only 14% of the public (and 17% of Daily Mail readers) support tougher enforcement and heavier penalties for cannabis offences
  • 67% want a comprehensive review of all policy options. 70% of Conservative supporters and 69% of Labour supporters also feel this way, as do 61% of Daily Mail readers
  • When outcomes from Portugal were briefly described, almost 40% of the public support the Portuguese-style decriminalisation of small quantities of drugs for personal possession

A spokesperson for Transform said:

“These results show just how far ahead of politicians the public are. Whilst Labour and Conservative politicians shy away from the debate on drugs, around half of their supporters want to see legal regulation of cannabis production and supply or decriminalisation of cannabis possession, and a significant majority want a comprehensive review of our approach to drugs – including consideration of legal regulation. The poll demonstrates that even amongst Daily Mail readers, almost half support less punitive approaches to cannabis, and a majority back an independent review of all options, which may come as a surprise to the paper’s editors.

“Politicians have repeated their ‘tough on drugs’ propaganda for so long that they assume the public are more fearful of change than they really are. In fact the world has changed, and the public are far more progressive than was thought, right across the political spectrum. At the very least the government should heed long standing and growing calls for a review of all policy options, including legal regulation. And as a matter of urgency the coalition should engage in experiments in the Portuguese style decriminalisation of possession of drugs for personal use. Now is the time for the heads of all parties to show the leadership citizens surely deserve.”

The full poll data is available here: http://www.tdpf.org.uk/Ipsos_MORI_TPDF_poll.pdf

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