Truth to Power

Media lies about the weed: 56% say legalize it

Widely publicized 4/20 poll actually shows majority support for drug reforms

As with many instances in politics, actuality can often be obscured behind the wrong frame: ask a question just the right way and results can be wildly tilted, one way or another.

Take the case of an Associated Press/CNBC poll released on April 20, 2010, detailing Americans’ opinions on legalizing marijuana. The poll was widely reported as declaring that 55 percent in the U.S. are opposed to ending prohibition.

Make no mistake, “oppose” is exactly what 55 percent of the people said when asked: “Do you favor, oppose or neither favor nor oppose the complete legalization of the use of marijuana for any purpose?”

However, a more nuanced probing of the issue, carried out by the polling firm but almost entirely unmentioned in the media on April 20th, found that when stacked next to alcohol, often a more debilitating and addictive substance, statistical support for drug law reforms skyrocketed.

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