A newly released international Angus Reid public opinion poll reports that a vast majority of Americans, Canadians and Britons support marijuana possession offenders being fined, serving community service or sentenced to probation rather than being incarcerated.
In the U.S., over 1,000 adults were surveyed, with nearly three-fourths of the nation - 74 percent - in favor of alternative penalties being administered to those busted for possession. The figures for Canada were even more impressive, at 78 percent favoring fines and probation. For England, with a less prominent, though increasingly expanding cannabis culture (an average of 20 pot gardens are busted daily in the UK according to the latest reports), a convincing 70 percent advocate keeping low-level pot offenders out of prison.
Though the U.S. leads the three nations surveyed in the number of respondents who favor alternative sentencing for non-violent offenses in general (74 percent), the number of Americans who specifically support keeping pot offenders out of jail remains at 74%, while Canadians and Brits favor pot offenders avoiding incarceration at higher percentages than when considering all nonviolent crimes. Still, these are encouraging numbers any way you break them down.
Not surprisingly, respondents from all three countries voiced considerably less support for alternative penalties being offered to those convicted of credit card fraud, arson and drunk driving. So seeing that a majority of citizens living in influential Western nations think it’s high time we transcended imprisoning pot possession offenders, how long is it going to take for politicians and the justice system in the West, and indeed across the globe, to recognize the same?