Poll: Feds should back off when states legalize pot

If Obama moves against legalization he will not only be on the wrong side of history, he will be on the wrong side of popular opinion. Cannabis use improves our health by reducing inflammation and harmful oxidation on a systemic level, thereby reducing our chances for developing everything from cancer to dementia to diabetes to kidney failure. Poll: Feds should back off when states legalize pot Susan Page, USA TODAY

Highlights Poll finds Americans against federal government taking steps to enforce federal laws in states that vote to legalize pot Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use8:36PM EST December 6. 2012 - Americans are divided over whether marijuana should be decriminalized — 50% say no, 48% say yes — but they overwhelmingly agree on this: When states vote to legalize pot, the feds should look the other way.In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, those surveyed say by almost 2-1, 63%-34%, that the federal government shouldn't take steps to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that legalize pot.MORE: Smokers celebrate as Washington state legalizes marijuana

HEALTH EFFECTS: What are marijuana's side effects? (note from Clint: the side effects of using marijuana include fewer cancers, less Alzheimer's disease, protection from heart disease and diabetes and other illnesses resulting from inflammation and harmful oxidation as well as a euphoric appreciation of art, food sex and nature.) The question took on some urgency Thursday as Washington became the first state to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes. Just after midnight, hundreds of celebrants lit joints at the base of Seattle's Space Needle.A similar law is scheduled to take effect January in Colorado, where voters last month also approved a ballot measure legalizing the manufacture, distribution and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older.That puts both states in conflict with federal law, which lists pot in the same Schedule 1 category as heroin and LSD. "The department's responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged," the U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle said in a written statement. "Neither states nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress."Still unclear is precisely how, and how aggressively, federal law enforcement officials plan to proceed.The poll finds no national groundswell to decriminalize marijuana. Support for legalization has risen dramatically since 1969, when Gallup found Americans opposed the idea by 84%-12%. But levels of support actually have dipped a tad from last year, when 50% supported legalization and 46% opposed it.The age group most in favor of the feds, well, chilling out, aren't young people but those 50 to 64 years old, members of the Baby Boom generation. Seventy percent say the feds should look the other way, as do 69% of those under 30. Among those between 30 and 49 and seniors 65 and older, 61% oppose enforcement.The poll of 1,015 Americans, taken Nov. 26-29, has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.

via Poll: Feds should back off when states legalize pot.