Readers sound off online on marijuana
Massachusetts voters made their voices heard on Nov. 4, knocking down the penalties for marijuana possession from a criminal offense to a paying $100 fine turning over the drug, when caught with an ounce or less.
The Telegraph conducted an online survey in the wake of the David Orde arrest, asking readers to answer questions about legalization, dangers and personal habits regarding marijuana. Almost 200 people responded.
Here are some of those results, from our unscientific survey.
75 percent of those responding to the survey said they have friends who smoke pot, but 98 percent said they never feel pressured to smoke. Of those who don’t currently smoke, 44 percent said they don’t avoid those who do.
44 percent said they no longer smoke marijuana.
84 percent admitted to smoking at some point in their lives.
Comments: “Marijuana has been around a lot longer and is a heck of a lot safer than the Pfizer drugs they keep pulling off the shelves,” stated one respondent.
“As someone working in emergency services,” said another, “I have never seen ANYONE need crisis services for marijuana use. Alcohol, on the other hand, the legal drug, is responsible for most of the violent and tragic injuries that occur.”
Is it a gateway drug?
66 percent said marijuana was not a gateway drug – 12 percent yes, 9 percent didn’t know, 13 percent maybe.
Comments: “People inclined or prone to using drugs often start with marijuana. Does that make it a gateway drug?”
Is it addictive?
58 percent said marijuana was not addictive – 18 percent said yes, 12 percent each said didn’t know and maybe.
Comments: “Habit forming for sure, but not physically addictive,” said one respondent.
“I am not sure about it being addictive. I think like anything, it depends on the person’s addictive personality. Is alcohol addictive? To some it is, but other can control it. I believe the same holds true for marijuana,” said another.
Should it be legalized?
74 percent said marijuana should be legalized with age and usage restrictions just like alcohol and tobacco; 10 percent said yes, with no restrictions; 12 percent said no; and 4 percent didn’t know.
54 percent believed that the government would legalize it if they had a way to tax it.
Comment: “Just like people who drink responsibly, I think pot can be used responsibly,” said one respondent.
Thoughts on drug war
“I’m all for the war on drugs, but I don’t think that should include marijuana.I strongly believe alcohol is 100% more harmful than marijuana in many ways.”
“Legalizing marijuana would empty half the prison population, saving billions in tax money to go to other programs,” said one respondent.
“The ‘crime’ of growing or using marijuana is purely consensual and harms no one.”
“Busting citizens for growing marijuana in their own home contributes NOTHING to the well being and safety of the citizens of our great nation. If our . . . politicians really wanted to protect NH citizens, they’d remove the liquor stores off our highways.”
“I support jailing Farmer Dave” – a reference to Hollis resident and Lull Farm manager David Orde, arrested in 2008 for growing marijuana plants at his home.
There was a wide spread of age groups responding to the survey, from a few younger than 18, with a majority (34 percent) 46 and older. Gender was a 6-0/40 split in favor of males. 54 percent reported they were white-collar workers, and 59 percent stated they were college graduates.
Percentages may not add up to 100 percent, due to rounding.
Drug Survey at a Glance
Here are some of the results of The Telegraph’s online survey about smoking marijuana. Almost 200 people responded to at least one question; about 175 answered each of these questions, unless otherwise noted.
This is very unscientific: We have no way of knowing who answered or whether people answered more than once under different online identities. It’s also likely that people responding to a survey of this type are more likely to be proponents of marijuana than detractors.
Here are some highlights of the responses:
HAVE YOU SMOKED POT?
More than once a week 6.9%
Not anymore 44.6%
DO YOU THINK POT IS ADDICTIVE?
I don’t know 11.8%
DO YOU THINK USING MARIJUANA IMPAIRS YOUR ABILITY TO (PEOPLE COULD ANSWER MORE THAN ONE; 127 PEOPLE ANSWERED) . . .
Use good judgment 59.8%
SHOULD MARIJUANA BE LEGALIZED?
Yes, with restrictions, like alcohol and tobacco 74.4%
Yes, with no restrictions 10.2%
I don’t know 4.0%
THE WAR ON DRUGS IS (PEOPLE COULD CHOOSE MORE THAN ONE) . . .
Wasting millions of taxpayer dollars 71.6%
Vital to keeping drug use down 15.9%
Unfairly putting thousands of people in jail 63.1%
Keeping America safer 11.9%
A valuable use of law enforcement’s time 11.9%
Using money better spent on drug education and rehabilitation 52.8%