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If 66 percent of Americans support
legalizing marijuana, why are so many
local communities banning it?
Fifty-seven percent of Michigan voters passed Proposition 1, which legalized marijuana for recreational use, last November. Yet some 600 cities and townships in the state have banned marijuana businesses within their borders. And that’s before the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency issues regulations to apply for a state license to produce and sell marijuana products. The rules are expected to be handed down by month’s end, and the state plans to start accepting applications by October.     

The practice of keeping the marijuana industry out of local communities began with Colorado, which legalized the drug for medical use 19 – and for recreational use 7 – years ago. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Colorado’s cities, towns, and counties still want nothing to do with marijuana growing, production, or sales and have banned all such activities, according to the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division.
And some 75 percent of California’s local governments have banned pot shops since the passage of Proposition 64 three years ago, so many that now some legislators are trying to do away with local control. And two dozen cities are suing the state to keep marijuana home delivery services out of jurisdictions that have banned the industry.
More than half of Massachusetts’ communities have banned (red areas in map below) or placed moratoriums (orange areas) on the marijuana industry since the state fully legalized pot in 2016. Although many of the moratoriums expired December 31, 2018, more than 80 are still in play. And many towns that have neither placed moratoriums nor banned the industry simply refuse to sign the required host agreements that enable the marijuana industry to conduct business in their jurisdictions.
Even jurisdictions in states that have NOT legalized marijuana for recreational use are banning the pot industry. Some 50 local governments in New Jersey passed laws banning marijuana sales or possession within their borders as the state legislature considered but rejected legalization this year.
And Philadelphia city council members who support marijuana for medical use are nonetheless banning dispensaries in areas within their districts. “I am for medical marijuana, but I am not for the over proliferation of those types of dispensaries in one neighborhood,” says council member Curtis Jones. He added that he fears medical dispensaries could turn into "recreational weed shops” if the state were to fully legalize the drug.
Given this kind of pushback, legalizing marijuana for recreational use may not be so inevitable as advocates claim.
Explore map, hear how citizens feel about legal pot, and read “Michigan towns and cities have three months left to ban recreational marijuana” in MLive article here.
Read “Most of Colorado still bans grows, but state still harvested 554,233 pounds through June” in Westword here.
Read “California lawmakers already want to roll back a key promise of marijuana legalization” in the Los Angeles Times here.

Read “New California bill would override local bans on cannabis stores,” in here.
Read “What does 2019 have in store for marijuana in Massachusetts?” in the Boston Globe here.
See Massachusetts map, pictured below, of marijuana bans and moratoriums in “Where marijuana stores can – and can’t – open in Mass.” at WBUR News here.

Read “Legal in the state or not, some cities ban marijuana” in Governing here.

Read “Eight Philly locales likely to be off limits for medical marijuana dispensaries in here.

Support for recreational marijuana legalization
falls well below 50 percent
when pollsters give public a choice
The most recent Gallup Poll on marijuana legalization asked this question: “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” Those questioned could answer “Yes,” “No,” or “No opinion.” And Gallup concludes from this that “Two in three Americans now support legalizing marijuana.”
But Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) has commissioned several Mason and Dixon polls that show when people are given more than one choice, support for full legalization drops well below half. A poll SAM commissioned last week asks more than a single yes/no question and gets very different results. This poll asks:
Currently, possessing and selling marijuana is against federal law. Which one of the following best describes your preference on national marijuana policy? 
  • Keep the current policy of outlawing marijuana possession and sale
  • Keep the current policy, but legalize marijuana for medical use
  • Decriminalize marijuana possession by removing the possibility of jail time and also allowing medical marijuana use, but keep the sale of marijuana illegal
  • Legalize the commercial production, possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use, as some states have done 
And when the question is better defined, as in what kind of legalization are we talking about, support for recreational legalization falls well below two-thirds – to just 37 percent.
Read question responses and trends of Gallup Poll here.
Read questions and responses of SAM-commissioned Mason and Dixon Poll here.
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In addition to current issues of The Marijuana Report, we post several more marijuana messages each month on our Facebook page. Search Facebook for nationalfamilies to access it.

The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

Visit National Families in Action's website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

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The Marijuana Report Staff
Executive Editor
Sue Rusche
Nicole Carter
IT Consultant
Lee Clontz
Social Media Coordinator
Margarita Eberline
We are grateful to our Board of Directors and Senior Adviser for their support of National Families in Action, which produces The Marijuana Report website and e-newsletter.
National Families in Action
Board of Directors

William F. Carter, Chairman of the Board
Realtor Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Georgia Properties, Atlanta.

Sue Rusche, President and CEO, Atlanta.

Richard L. Brown, Secretary
Attorney (Ret.), Lakewood Ranch, Florida
Founder & Chairman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association 

Jeannine F. Adams, Director
President and CEO, J. Addams & Partners, Atlanta.

Jack L. Arbiser, MD, PhD, Director
Thomas J. Lawley Professor of Dermatology
Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta

William H. Avery, Director
Partner (Ret.), Alston & Bird, LLP, Atlanta.

Margarita Eberline, Director
Strategy Director, 360 Marketing Plus, Atlanta.

Robert Margolis, PhD, Director
Founder, Caron Solutions Intensive Outpatient Program, Roswell, Georgia.

Shannon Murphy, MD FAAP, Director
Birmingham, Alabama 
Senior Adviser
Kent “Oz” Nelson, Chairman and CEO (Ret.)
United Parcel Service, Atlanta.
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