03/09/2014 08:00 pm ET Updated Mar 10, 2014

Many CPAC Attendees Say Marijuana Should Be Legalized

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- This year's Conservative Political Action Conference was teeming with young people, many of whom sported "Stand with Rand" T-shirts in both an homage to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and a sign of the spread of libertarianism among young Republicans.

It was thus unsurprising that a Huffington Post survey of CPAC attendees found that the majority of those polled favor the legalization of marijuana. We asked more than a dozen attendees, both young and old, if they thought marijuana should be legalized, why or why not, and whether they had ever smoked weed themselves.

Although there were a few naysayers, most responses were consistent with the growing national support for decriminalizing marijuana. Some people said that legalization would mean locking up fewer people for a non-violent crime. Others cited the revenue boost that would likely come from taxing the drug. One respondent even argued that if Pop-Tarts, which contain carcinogenic preservatives, are legal, then why not marijuana? Another was much more brief in his reasoning, saying that he supported legalization "because freedom."

In addition to HuffPost's informal survey, an official CPAC straw poll also found majority support for legalizing marijuana.

Read some of the answers below:

Stephen Duke
Do you support decriminalization? "I support the legalization of marijuana because I recognize that [current drug policy is] simply not working. It's a pretty racist policy. We see minorities being locked up for marijuana possession at an exorbitant rate compared to white males. I also think from an economic standpoint, it doesn't make sense to arrest these folks and spend all this money in law enforcement focusing on something that has been proven to be less dangerous than alcohol."
Have you ever smoked weed? "Yes."

Nick M.
Do you support decriminalization? "I am a libertarian, so I have the opinion of decriminalizing marijuana. I believe that it should be your own body, your own choice to make."
Have you ever smoked weed? "Yes, I have. Honestly, I didn't really care for it. I still think it's stupid to do drugs, but you should be able to make your own decisions."

JD Bryden
Do you support decriminalization? "Yes, I do. I think you're denying a non-violent choice for a person to make. We've already been through one situation where we banned alcohol. Why would you ban this? It's exactly like Prohibition."
Have you ever smoked weed? "No. I don't drink, either. But why would I want to be in other people's business?"

Spencer Chretien
Do you support decriminalization? "I think that the war on drugs is not perfect. But I don't think we should rush toward legalization."
Have you ever smoked weed? "No."

Tommy Valentine
Do you support decriminalization? "No, I don't. We already have enough issues with drugs and alcohol. I don't think we need another thing for people to abuse."
Have you ever smoked weed? "No."

Thomas J.
Do you support decriminalization? "Yes. I think the war on drugs has been an absolute failure. It's a victimless crime. It's not hurting anybody. Drunk drivers kill people; pot smokers aren't killing anybody."
Have you ever smoked weed? "I plead the Fifth."

Rick L.
Do you support decriminalization? "Yeah. Because, freedom."
Have you ever smoked weed? "Yeah."

Kash Ziemba
Do you support decriminalization?"Yes. I think it would increase taxes and bring in a great amount of revenue for the country."
Have you ever smoked weed? "Yes."

Stephanie Schmitt
Do you support decriminalization? "I think it should be illegal. I just don't see [reasons], other than medicinal reasons, to have it recreationally legal. It doesn't seem to be doing anyone much good. It seems to be more of a gateway drug -- some of my friends, I've seen, it's turned them from bad to worse."
Have you ever smoked weed? "No!"

Jeff Feiwel
Do you support decriminalization? "Yeah, I do. I think it could be profitable when it's taxed. Also, our criminal system has enough people incarcerated in it. I really don't think people should go to jail for smoking a joint."
Have you ever smoked weed? "Yeah."

Carlie Sorosiak
Do you support decriminalization? "I believe people should be able to do what they want. Everyone knows that it's harmful, but if you want to do it anyway then I think that's your choice. I mean, Pop-Tarts are really dangerous for you, too. Those aren't illegal. They have carcinogens in them and yet they're legal."
Have you ever smoked weed? "No."

Ariel Kohane
Do you support decriminalization? "Only for medical purposes, like if somebody really needs it and the doctor prescribes it."
Have you ever smoked weed? "No, never. It's just not my thing. I can't even stand the smell of it."

Howard Wooldridge
Do you support decriminalization? "Yes, because we can arrest more pedophiles and other threats to our kids if we don't waste time on a green plant. And we want to eliminate the job option that teenagers have -- to sell marijuana and other drugs -- so that they aren't shot, six to seven of them every day in America. It's shameful, it's immoral that this country has a job option for kids which gets them shot, killed or at a minimum sucked into a gang and a lifetime of crime."
Have you ever smoked weed? "I have smoked pot. The last time I smoked illegal pot was 35 years ago at Michigan State."

James McNeil
Do you support decriminalization? "I think it's just like any other drug. It just needs to be monitored. I don't see any problem with it."
Have you ever smoked weed? "Yeah, everyone has. Anyone who says otherwise is lying."



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