Lake Research conducted a nationwide poll of 1,002 Americans between February 5-9, 1997 for The Lindesmith Center, a Project of the Open Society Institute. The survey was fielded by International Communications Research as part of the Excel Poll. The following memorandum comes from Lake Research:
To: Interested Parties
From: Celinda Lake and Dana Stanley Lake Research, Inc.
Date: February 14, 1997
Re: AMERICANS OVERWHELMINGLY FAVOR ALLOWING DOCTORS
TO PRESCRIBE MARIJUANA FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES,
OPPOSE FEDERAL INTERVENTION
By a 2 to 1 margin, American voters favor allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes for seriously or terminally ill patients (60 percent favor, 30 percent oppose, nine percent don't know, and one percent refused to answer).
Furthermore, Americans believe that doctors in states like Arizona and California, which have passed medical marijuana initiatives, should be able to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes, and they don't believe the federal government should penalize those doctors for prescribing marijuana (68 percent say doctors should be able to prescribe, 24 percent say federal government should penalize those doctors, two percent don't agree with either notion, four percent are unsure, and one percent refused to answer).
The questions were worded as follows and were asked in the following order:
a. Should doctors be able to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes to seriously or terminally ill patients?
b. As you may know, voters in two states recently passed laws allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to seriously ill patients for medical purposes. The federal government says that doctors who prescribe are violating federal law, and has threatened to prosecute them or suspend their license. Which comes closer to your views [rotate order of choices]: doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana for medical uses in states where it is allowed by law, or the federal government should penalize doctors who prescribe marijuana, regardless of whether state law allows them to?
Questions about this survey can be directed to: Ethan Nadelmann, Director, The Lindesmith Center, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10106, 212/887-0695, or Celinda Lake or Dana Stanley, Lake Research, 202/776-9066.
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