Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Latest swing-state polling shows huge support for ending blanket marijuana prohibition

The latest swing-state polling numbers via the fine folks who conduct the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds remarkably high public support for ending marijuana prohibition, especially with respect to allowing adults "to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it."  This Quinnipiac press release provides these basic and links to various polling specifics concerning both recreation and medical marijuana reforms (with some of my emphasis added):

With noticeable gender gaps, voters in Florida and Ohio back legalization of marijuana for personal use - so-called "recreational marijuana" - while Pennsylvania voters are divided, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.

In each state, men support legalized marijuana for personal use more than women, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.

By overwhelming margins, voters in each state support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. On this question, there is no gender gap. Also in each state, most voters say they would not use marijuana if personal use were legalized.... "If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then the Red Planet might be the more spacey place. That's because men are more likely than women to support legalization of marijuana for recreational use," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "Not surprisingly support for the change is linked to age, with younger voters more likely to see personal use of pot as a good thing."

"But despite the support for legalization, a majority of voters in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania say they would not use the drug if it were legal," Brown added. "Only about one in 10 voters opposes legalizing marijuana for medical purposes." ...

Florida voters support legalizing personal marijuana use 51 - 45 percent. Men support it 57 - 41 percent, with women narrowly opposed 49 - 46 percent. Support is 66 - 30 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old, 52 - 44 percent among voters 35 to 49 years old and 55 - 43 percent among voters 50 to 64 years old. Voters over 65 are opposed 56 - 39 percent. But 65 percent of voters say they would "definitely not" use marijuana if it were legalized. Voters support legalizing medical marijuana 87 - 12 percent. ...

Ohio voters support legalizing personal marijuana use 53 - 44 percent. Men support it 59 - 38 percent. Women are divided, with 47 percent in favor and 49 percent opposed. Support is 70 - 25 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old, 59 - 39 percent among voters 35 to 49 years old and 50 - 46 percent among voters 50 to 64 years old. Voters over 65 are opposed 64 - 33 percent. Again, 65 percent of voters say they would "definitely not" use marijuana if it were legalized. Voters support legalized medical marijuana use 90 - 9 percent.

Pennsylvania voters are divided on legalizing personal marijuana use, with 47 percent in favor and 49 percent opposed. Men support it 52 - 44 percent, with women opposed 53 - 43 percent.

Support is 66 - 33 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old and 51 - 45 percent among voters 35 to 49 years old. Voters 50 to 64 years old are divided 48 - 47 percent and voters over 65 are opposed 64 - 32 percent. Even if marijuana were legalized, 66 percent of voters say they would "definitely not" use it. Voters support legalizing medical marijuana 90 - 9 percent.

For a number of reasons, it is understandable that the divided numbers concerning legalization of recreational marijuana serves as the top polling story from these data. But, as my headline and highlights are designed to stress, I think the most important and potentially consequential aspect of this polling is the huge approval from all states and all demographics to end blanket marijuana prohibition and to permit, in the words of the poll question, adults "to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it." Now with such overwhelming support for medical marijuana reform in "purple" states, I expect more and more mainstream politicians to actively support medical marijuana reform and perhaps even start attacking any candidates who do not actively support such reforms.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/marijuana_law/2015/10/latest-swing-state-polling-shows-huge-support-for-ending-blanket-marijuana-prohibition.html

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