Nearly three out of four Americans believe that the federal government should respect state laws regarding medical marijuana and halt raids on dispensaries, according to a poll released Wednesday.
"These results are consistent with the clear and growing body of evidence that documents substantial voter support for the legalization of medical marijuana," said Larry Harris, a principal with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
The polling agency found that 74 percent of Americans believed the federal government should respect states' medical marijuana laws. Support for medical marijuana laws was highest among Independents, at 79 percent, and lowest among Republicans, at 67 percent. Younger age groups were more likely to think the federal government should respect medical marijuana laws than older age groups.
"The results of this survey demonstrate that there is virtually no support in the country for the Obama administration's crackdown on state medical marijuana laws," said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project.
"Across all demographic and ideological groups, the American people strongly believe the president should respect state medical marijuana laws, as he promised he would when he campaigned to be president. It is clearly time for President Obama to stand up to the members of his administration who are carrying out the morally wrong and politically unpopular policy of denying patients safe access to this beneficial medicine."
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical marijuana. However, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug: the most restrictive classification reserved for dangerous drugs with no real medical value.
Following the election of President Barack Obama, the Department of Justice had suggested that it would not target state-authorized medical marijuana providers. The agency later clarified that it would still treat medical marijuana providers as criminal enterprises, although it believed prosecuting medical marijuana patients was not a good use of resources.
But marijuana advocates have told Raw Story that the Obama administration has staged “more than 200″ raids in the last three years — making his presidency far “worse than Bush” for drug reform advocates.
With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster