Idaho residents do not want pot legalisation

For updates from Monte Stiles, click headline.


Two very interesting articles appeared today [20 August] in the Washington Post and USA Today.

Christopher Ingraham, who writes for the Wonkblog at the Washington Post, has written very good articles on the legalization issue. His forte is data, and he usually does a very good job at bringing data together to provide interesting insights. The article he posted today, These are the states that could legalize pot next, is an indepth look into polling numbers nationally and in most states. From that data, he created a map that shows the level of support for, or opposition to, legalization in each state. He also provides a state-by-state chart giving the polling numbers and their source.  In the end, he asks the question “Did I miss anything? Let me know”.

You might want to see what he says about your state’s status on legalisation.

The USA Today story is clearly biased since the only “experts” cited are Allen St Pierre, executive director of NORML, and Morgan Fox, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. These two organizations provide most of the polling information for each state, as well as all of the obligatory pro-pot facts about tax revenues, employment, etc.  The authors of this article, The next 11 states to legalize marijuana, make assumptions about legalization in various states using predictive factors such as marijuana use rates, state laws decriminalizing pot, and the existence of medical marijuana laws.

The article contains a lot of the same exaggerated marijuana arrest numbers always used by NORML and MPP to justify legalization.  To find out what they are saying about your state, read here.


The pro-pot people in my state (Idaho) claim that 74% of Idahoans are in favor of legalization. They use these numbers in an effort to convince legislators (and the general public) that there is overwhelming support for their position.

The numbers cited in Christopher Ingraham’s Washington Post article shows that only 31% of Idahoans “strongly” or “somewhat support” legalization. This means that 64% of Idahoans do not want pot legalized (with 3% undecided).

The discrepancy lies in who is asking the questions and how the questions are asked. The pro-pot people are experts at “push polling” – getting the answers they want by asking questions that are skewed in their favor. For example, consider these two possible questions:

* Do you agree that seriously ill people in your state should be able to obtain a prescription from their doctor so that they can obtain medical marijuana as part of their treatment?
* Do you support the establishment of pot dispensaries in your neighborhood?

The same group of people will answer these questions differently.

Every state should be ready to challenge the “facts” spouted by the pro-pot crowd. It takes some work, but it leads almost invariably to information that can refute claims that are otherwise accepted as true.


More information about the Idaho poll.

Other Idaho results:
18-24 year-olds oppose pot legalization by 55-47%
25-34 year-olds oppose it by 61-34%
Idaho Republicans are especially against legalizing marijuana, 80-19%
49% of Idaho Democrats favor decriminalization of marijuana use, while 48% oppose
Among political independents, 59% oppose legalization, 38% favor.