Poll Explores New Jersey Consumer Attitudes, Habits Year Into Market Launch

Stockton University released the results of a new poll of 660 New Jersey residents April 25, 2023, exploring consumer attitudes and actions as the market continues to take shape. Stockton University students texted cell phones with invitations to take the survey online, with Opinion Services supplementing the dialing portion of the field work to cell and landline telephones. Polling took place from April 1-14, 2023.

Learning About the New Jersey Cannabis Consumer

The poll explored a number of issues surrounding cannabis, including general consumer shopping habits, attitudes and behaviors in the year since the market launched. According to the poll, about one-third of New Jersey adults have used cannabis or cannabis products since recreational cannabis was legalized, and most users said they were happy to patronize a legal weed dispensary.

Among legal cannabis consumers, 47% said they used it for recreational purposes and 39% said they consumed it for both medical and recreational purposes, while just 13% used it strictly for medicinal purposes. Despite boasting some of the highest prices in the country, 69% of users bought products from a licensed cannabis dispensary, and 86% reported that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the experience. 

Expanding upon the widely-reported satisfying dispensary experience, 43% of consumers said they appreciated knowing that products were safe and 23% said they liked the quality. Only 7% of respondents approved of New Jersey’s cannabis prices.

Looking at cannabis big pictures, a majority of respondents (53%) supported having dispensaries in their own town selling recreational cannabis (39% opposed). When asked about the potential for adding cannabis to New Jersey’s hospitality industry, with offerings like cannabis-infused restaurants, consumption lounges and more, it was more evenly split, with 48% in support and 45% opposed.

While in the minority, the poll also explored the habits and attitude of residents and consumers who have yet to embrace the legal market. When asked why they have not visited a legal dispensary yet, the most commonly reported reason among respondents (30%) was that there was no dispensary nearby. Currently, there are 24 retail shops across the state.

Other reasons included preference for products sold elsewhere (13%) and the general cost (11%). Twenty-seven percent of respondents indicated “some other reason.” Additionally, 30% of respondents admitted they had purchased cannabis or cannabis products from unlicensed individual sellers in the past year.

The poll also offers some demographic insights on New Jersey’s cannabis users. Men (37%) were more likely than women (28%) to consume cannabis, and people under 50 were also more likely to have consumed cannabis in the past year. Specifically, 43% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 41% of 30- to 49-year-olds consumed cannabis, while only 17% of senior citizens did the same, with half strictly using cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Black people had the highest cannabis usage (39%), followed by white people (33%) and Hispanic/Latino respondents (29%), and there were no differences in usage between different regions of the state and those with or without a college degree. Democrats were also more likely (38%) to consume cannabis than Republicans (24%) or independents (32%).

While it’s still early, and a year only offers so much information, the findings highlight some of the challenges of New Jersey’s legal cannabis industry so far, along with the demand for cannabis in the state. Even though prices may be high and dispensary accessibility is still an issue, it appears consumers are generally still willing to travel and pay up to have access to safe, high-quality products. 

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Poll: Majority of South Carolina Adults Support Medical, Recreational Cannabis

It appears that adults in South Carolina are backing legal medical cannabis, and the majority also support recreational use, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by Winthrop University, involved interviews with 1,657 South Carolina adults from March 25-April 1. In addition to cannabis, the poll established favorability ratings of politicians and asked residents their opinions about a number of other topics, including legal sports gambling, Christianity in America and LGBTQ issues.

The survey found that 76% of South Carolina adults are in favor of legal medical cannabis. The two primary political parties generally agreed on the topic, with 80% of Democrats and 72% of Republicans in support.

“Support for medical marijuana in South Carolina has steadily grown over the years, especially as other states have moved towards legalization without an apparent collapse of society,” Winthrop Poll Director Huffmon said in a university news release.

The two parties are a bit more divided when it comes to recreational cannabis, but the majority (56%) of the general population supports its legalization. Republicans are split, 45-45%, while 62% Democrats are in favor of adult-use legalization. The overall support increased by two percentage points compared to the 2022 Winthrop University poll.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), sponsor of the States Reform Act which pushed for federal cannabis legalization last congress, spoke up about the results on Twitter.

“Interesting findings re cannabis and gay marriage supported by the majority of people in South Carolina. Not as controversial as some would have you to believe. This tells me our state loves freedom,” she wrote. “Wish they’d asked about women’s issues and gun violence – maybe next time.”

A Missed Opportunity for Medical Cannabis

South Carolina has yet to legalize medical or recreational weed, and the results come following a pivotal time for the state when it comes to cannabis. The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act aimed to legalize medical cannabis, but it died last year in the House. Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, reintroduced the bill this year, but it’s still awaiting debate on the Senate floor, where it passed last year in a 28-15 vote.

The bill would legalize medical cannabis for patients with specific qualifying conditions, but smoking would be prohibited, along with possession of plant forms of cannabis. Medical products like topicals, oils and vapes would be produced by regulated suppliers and patients would be limited to purchasing a two-week supply of cannabis at one time.

A vote to give the legislation priority for a Senate floor debate also failed earlier in March. South Carolina veterans and advocates pleaded to senators to debate the bill so it had a better chance of becoming law this year, WSPA reported on March 28.

“South Carolina wants this. This should have been done years ago,” said Cody Callarman, Marine veteran and founder of the CBD company Carolina Dream, during a press conference at the State House that week. “If they want to continue to war on cannabis, that’s fine. But can we at least get the sick, dying, and ill off the battlefield?”

However, the bill needed to pass the Senate by March 30 to be enacted this year. The legislation could still advance this session, though it would require supermajority support in the legislature.

Most recently, the bill advanced through the Senate Medical Affairs Committee in February.

In order to gain approval of conservative lawmakers, Davis has admitted that the bill would create one of the most strict medical cannabis programs. While House members debated the legislation last year, David said that the bill is designed to prevent recreational cannabis.

“I want people to look at South Carolina’s law and say, ‘If you want a law that helps patients and empowers doctors but doesn’t go down the slope to recreational, this is your bill,’” he told his colleagues in the House.

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More Than 80% of Texans Back Medical Cannabis, Poll Says

More than 80% of Texans are in favor of medical cannabis, while a smaller majority backs recreational pot, according to a new survey.

The poll, which comes via the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, found that 82% of Texans support legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. Sixty-seven percent of Texans support legislation that would make the recreational use of marijuana for any purpose legal for those age 21 and older, according to the poll.

“Attitudes about the use of marijuana have been evolving over the past few decades, and we found especially strong support for expanding the use of medical marijuana,” said Renée Cross, senior executive director and researcher at the Hobby School, as quoted by Houston Public Media. “But a majority of Texans across-the-board – across partisan, generational and racial and ethnic lines – also said they support legalization for recreational use.”

Medical cannabis is legal in the Lone Star State, but the law is highly restrictive. Qualifying patients are only allowed cannabis products that contain 1% THC or less. The program is also plagued by a dearth of dispensaries, with only three new licenses issued in the past three years.

Last month, the Texas Department of Public Safety said that it was trying to mitigate that as it began accepting applications for new dispensary licenses. 

“An announcement detailing the process for application acceptance and the subsequent approval process to issue additional licenses will be made at a later date. The department will issue only the number of licenses necessary to ensure reasonable statewide access to, and the availability of, low-THC cannabis for patients registered in the compassionate-use registry,” the department said in its announcement last month.

Recreational marijuana, meanwhile, remains prohibited. 

The polling data from the University of Houston shows strong support across multiple demographics for both. 

Among the 82% who say they support medical cannabis, 56% said they are “strongly” in favor of the policy. 

Here’s more from the cross-tabs:

“85% of Latino, 83% of Black and 80% of white Texans support this [medical cannabis] legislation. This includes 60% of Latinos and 55% of whites who strongly support it. 83% of women and 80% of men support this legislation. 93% of Democrats, 79% of Independents and 73% of Republicans support this legislation. This includes 71% of Democrats who strongly support it.”

As for recreational pot, 47% said they are “strongly” in favor. 

“When asked about preferences regarding the sale and use of marijuana in Texas, 54% of Texans opt for legislation under which marijuana would be legal for medical and recreational use and 28% of Texans opt for legislation under which marijuana would be legal for medical use only. Finally, 18% of Texans prefer the current legislative status quo under which marijuana use for either recreational or medical purposes is illegal in Texas,” the pollsters wrote

Mark P. Jones, senior research fellow at the Hobby School and political science fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, observed some partisan and religious division in the polling numbers.

“A significant minority of Texans, especially those who identify as Republican, Independent and born-again Christian, say they personally do not favor easing state regulations,” Jones said, as quoted by Houston Public Media.  “Almost one out of five Texans, or 18%, said they would prefer no change to the state’s current marijuana laws.”

Cross, meanwhile, envisions reform for the state’s medical cannabis law.

“If anything, I think we’ll see the diseases or illnesses allowed probably expanded,” she said, as quoted by Houston Public Media. “So in essence, it will make it easier to get a prescription for medical marijuana in Texas.”

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Poll: Majority Support Legalization in Hawaii

More than half of Hawaii residents believe it is time for the state to change its laws and legalize recreational cannabis use for adults, according to a new poll from a marijuana trade organization released this week. 

The survey, released on Tuesday from the Hawaii Cannabis Industry Association (HICIA), found that 52% in the Pacific island state are in favor of legalizing adult-use marijuana, compared with only 31% who said they are opposed.

Fifteen percent of Hawaii residents said they neither support nor oppose legalization. 

“Reasons for support are varied, but tend to center on social and economic benefits, the belief that citizens should have the ability to choose what to do with their bodies, and the fact that cannabis is perceived to be safe, especially compared to prescription drugs. Reasons for opposition are equally varied, but focus on the perception that society may be harmed, the belief that cannabis itself is harmful (and a potential gateway to other drugs), and insistence that cannabis will be abused if legalized,” the pollsters wrote in their analysis.

“Political candidates are unlikely to be affected by support for recreational cannabis legislation, especially if their districts are comprised of sociopolitical groups that are more inclined to support legalization,” they continued. “Thirty percent of residents indicated they would be more likely to support a candidate who supported legalizing adult recreational use, compared to 26 percent who would be less likely to support a candidate who espoused that same view. Nearly 40 percent of residents, however, indicated that a candidate’s view on legalization doesn’t make much of a difference in their vote. A majority of residents believe regulations are important. Ninety-three percent of residents stated an age limit was either very important or somewhat important, 83 percent indicated limits on quantity purchased and prohibitions of use in public places was important, and 81 percent thought it was important that cannabis products were taxed. Slightly less importance was attached to limits on dispensary locations (72%) and number of dispensaries (67%).”

A Democratic lawmaker in Hawaii filed legislation last month to legalize recreational cannabis use in the state.

“We all know, and Hawaii’s people know, that it is high time to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults in Hawaii. This year we stand on the precipice of history,” state House Rep. Jeanné Kapela said at an event announcing the legislation last month. 

 “Following the recommendations of a task force devoted to addressing cannabis policy, we now have a roadmap for legalizing recreational cannabis in our islands,” Kapela added.

According to the poll that was released this week, “a larger proportion of residents believe legalization can produce positive social and economic outcomes compared to those who think legalization will produce negative outcomes.”

“For example, 54 percent of residents believe legalization would be good for the economy compared to 16 percent who believe it will be bad. Forty-five percent of residents believe legalization would produce significant tax revenue, compared to 36 percent who believe it would generate small tax revenue,” the pollsters wrote. “Forty-four percent believe it would reduce the burden on Hawaii’s criminal justice system while 38 percent believe it would not reduce the burden. From a social justice perspective, 42 percent believe legalization would help those groups who have historically been negatively impacted by cannabis laws; just 21 percent believe legalization would hurt those same groups. In terms of overall impact, 34 percent believe legalization of adult recreational use would be beneficial to the residents of the state, 23 percent believe it would be harmful, and the largest single group (37%) believe legalization would produce both benefit and harm.”

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New Poll Shows 9 Out Of 10 Americans Support Legal Pot

A new poll released on Tuesday shows that nearly nine out of 10 Americans believe that cannabis should be legal in some form, with a strong majority saying that recreational marijuana should be legalized for adults. The survey, which was conducted by the Pew Research Center last month, was published online on November 22 after being administered during the first half of October.

The results of the poll, which were essentially unchanged from a similar survey conducted in April 2021, showed that 88% of American adults surveyed believe that marijuana should be legalized. More than half (59%) said that medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis should be legal, while nearly a third (30%) said that cannabis should be legalized for medicinal use only. Only one in 10 respondents said that marijuana should be illegal in all cases.

Support For Legalization Varied By Age

Support for recreational marijuana legalization was sharply divided by the age of the poll’s respondents, with only 30% of those 75 and older believing that all forms of cannabis should be legalized. By contrast, 72% of those 18 to 29 years old said that both recreational marijuana and medical cannabis should be legalized, while 62% of respondents age 30 to 49 said the same. Just over half (54%) of adults aged 50 to 64 said both recreational and medical marijuana should be legal and 53% aged 65 to 74 agreed.

The new survey also found varying levels of support for marijuana legalization based on the political affiliation of respondents. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said that they believed that marijuana should be legal for both recreational and medical use and another 21% said that only medical marijuana should be legalized. Among liberal Democrats, 84% said both forms of cannabis should be legal, while nearly two-thirds (63%) of moderate and conservative Democrats said that they held the same view.

However, less than half (45%) of Republicans and independent voters who lean Republican said both medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis should be legal, with an additional 39% saying only medical marijuana should be legalized. A majority (60%) of moderate and liberal Republicans said that both medical and recreational marijuana should be legalized, while less than four out of 10 (37%) conservative Republicans said both forms of cannabis should be legal. 

Poll Taken After Presidential Pardons Announced

The new poll was conducted after President Joe Biden announced on October 6 that he would pardon all federal convictions for simple marijuana possession and encouraged state governors around the country to take similar action. At the same time, the president directed the U.S. attorney general and the head of the Department of Health and Human Services to examine the rescheduling of cannabis under federal drug laws. 

About three weeks following the completion of the survey, voters in five states decided on ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana in the November midterm elections. The legalization bids succeeded in Maryland and Missouri, while similar proposals in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota were rejected by voters.

The new Pew Research Center poll, which was conducted October 10 through 16, also identified different levels of support for marijuana legalization among different racial groups. A majority of white (60%) and Black (68%) adults were in favor of ending the prohibition on both medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis. By contrast, less than half of both Hispanic (49%) and Asian (48%) respondents said that they were in favor of full legalization.
The survey’s overall results are similar to a recently released Gallup Poll that also showed strong support for legalizing marijuana. In that survey, which was taken between October 3 and October 20 and did not differentiate between medical cannabis and recreational marijuana, more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents said that they favored legalization, tying a record high for the poll. A Monmouth Universtiy poll released last month showed similar support.

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Majority of Nearly Every Subgroup in U.S. Favors Legal Pot, Gallup Poll Shows

Spanning across 35 subgroups divided by ideology, religiosity, and age, the majority of nearly every demographic supported legal cannabis in the U.S. with just two exceptions: Older conservatives ages 50+, and “people who attend church weekly.”

Gallup recently released a poll with the latest data conducted on Oct. 3 to 20. Study results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,009 adults living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The list includes people from all walks of life, male and female, Democrat and Republican. Per usual, landline and cell phone telephone numbers were selected using random digit dial methods.

And using this and combined data gathered over the past five years—2018 through 2022—they released a stronger aggregated analysis of demographic differences in views about pot legalization, which they say is better than providing data from one poll alone.

Holding steady for the past two years, a record-high 68% of Americans across the board said they support legal pot. That number remained unchanged since the poll was conducted in 2020 and 2021.

Gallup Results Across Ideologies

People with no religious preference topped the list at 89%, liberals closed in second at 84%, Democrats at 81%, young adults close behind at 79%, and those who seldom or never attend religious services next at 78%.

The only subgroups that did not favor legal pot by majority are those who attend church weekly at 46% and conservatives at 49%—however younger conservatives ages 18 to 49 favored pot legalization slightly. Baby boomer conservatives, however, are a different story.

“Americans have grown much more supportive of legalizing marijuana over the past two decades, but support appears to be leveling off for now, not showing any change in the past three years,” wrote Jeffrey M. Jones in the poll report.

Protestants and Catholics showed equal support for legal pot at 60% each. It appears that college education changes attitudes to be more positive about cannabis: graduates supported legal pot more than non-graduates, with 69% and 66%, respectively. Stay in school, folks.

“While majorities of most major subgroups are in favor of legalizing marijuana, there are a few holdouts—-namely, political conservatives and regular churchgoers,” he continued. “Small segments of the population (in particular, older conservatives) are still disinclined to think marijuana use should be legal. However, younger conservatives and younger moderates are more inclined than their older counterparts to think cannabis should be legal. As such, in future decades support for legalizing marijuana can be expected to continue to grow as newer, likely more pro-marijuana, generations replace older generations in the U.S. population.”

Suburban residents supported legal pot the most at 72%, more than city residents (67%) and rural residents (60%). Men were also slightly more supportive of legal pot (70%) than women (65%).

In 1969, the first time Gallup conducted this poll, only 12% of Americans said cannabis should be legal. That number has gone up steadily, stalling briefly amid the “Just Say No” fever movement of the ‘80s, but climbing to 68% where it stands today. 

The polls show the normalization of cannabis use in America, which is light years away from prior generations.

Time is ticking for the generations that do not support legal pot, which shrinks consistently each year. Younger conservatives—who now support legal pot—are replacing their older counterparts and pretty soon, the ballot boxes.

Download the PDF of a complete list of Gallup’s poll responses here.

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New Poll Shows Two-Thirds of Americans Support Legalizing Weed

More than two-thirds of Americans are in favor of legalizing small amounts of cannabis for personal use, according to the results of a poll released on Monday. The new Monmouth University poll also showed broad support for President Joseph Biden’s recent executive order to pardon federal convictions for low-level marijuana possession and found that most Americans believe that cannabis is safer than alcohol.

“Polling from a variety of sources shows that support for marijuana legalization has been increasing consistently over the past twenty years,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll found that overall, 68% of respondents support legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Cannabis legalization was supported by 76% of Democrats, 73% of independent voters and 52% of Republicans. Young people showed the strongest support for legalizing marijuana, with 87% of those under 35 years old, while just over a majority (53%) of those aged 55 and older support legalization. 

Two-Thirds Support Biden’s Pardons

The Monmouth poll also showed strong support for Biden’s announcement on October 6 that he would pardon federal convictions for simple marijuana possession, with 69% of all respondents saying that they backed the president’s move.

“Biden’s action is in line with how the vast majority of Americans feel about this issue,” Murray said.

However, most were unsure about the scope of the pardons. An analysis by The New York Times determined that the pardons will affect about 6,500 people who were convicted of marijuana possession under federal law and thousands more in the District of Columbia. A quarter (25%) thought the number of convictions pardoned was less than 1,000, while a fifth (21%) thought the total was more than 10,000. One-fourth (26%) said the number was in the actual range of 1,000 to 10,000 convictions, while 29% declined to estimate.

More than half of Americans (54%) said that legalizing marijuana will have no impact on the number of crimes related to other drugs. A quarter (25%) said they believed legalizing marijuana would increase the number of other drug crimes, while 16% said that other drug crimes would decrease as a result of cannabis legalization.

Majority Believes Alcohol Is More Dangerous Than Weed

Most respondents (54%) said that they believed alcohol is more dangerous than weed, while only 7% said marijuana is more dangerous and 38% said they thought the two substances are equally dangerous. A plurality of respondents (45%) also thought pot is safer than tobacco. Only 13% said marijuana was more dangerous than tobacco and 38% said they were equally dangerous.

More than half (54%) of American adults said that they had tried marijuana, including 54% of Democrats, 51% of Republicans and 56% of independents. Those who had tried marijuana were more supportive of legalization, with 87% of those with personal experience with the plant favoring legalization and less than half (47%) of those who have never tried pot in favor of legalizing small amounts of cannabis.

Brian Vicente, founding partner of the cannabis and psychedelics law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, believes that the strong support for marijuana legalization revealed by the new poll is likely to be reflected in next month’s midterm elections, when five states will be voting to legalize adult-use cannabis.

 “This poll is a milestone in cannabis policy, with a stunning 68% of Americans now supporting legalization. Importantly, we now have a majority of both major political parties and a broad swath of Americans regardless of age now supporting reform,” Vicente wrote in an email to High Times

“This research, combined with the overwhelmingly positive response to President Biden’s recent actions to pardon marijuana convictions is creating the most energized climate around cannabis reform that our country has seen in a decade,” he added. “This climate is likely to contribute to another 4 or 5 states legalizing cannabis on November 8th. All these factors will provide a boost to cannabis reformers in DC, which makes significant federal reform a real possibility this year.”

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from October 13 to 17, 2022 with 808 adults in the United States. The results have a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points for the full sample.

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Legalization Advocates Bear Down for Difficult Race in South Dakota

Two years ago, South Dakota was a symbol of the radical shift in attitudes toward marijuana use in America—a deep red, Trump-loving state that had defied conventional wisdom and embraced weed.

But next month, the Mount Rushmore State could deal a reality check to the legalization movement.

Voters there are set to decide on Initiated Measure 27, which would legalize personal possession of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older in the state. Recent polling suggests that the electorate is split.

A new South Dakota State University poll released this week found that 47% of voters in the state are opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana, while 45% support the idea. Eight percent said they aren’t sure.

Initiated Measure 27 represents something of a do-over for advocates, after an amendment to legalize recreational cannabis was approved by South Dakota voters in 2020 only to be struck down by the courts following a legal challenge mounted by the state’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem.

Fifty-four percent of voters in the state approved Amendment A, but the state Supreme Court ultimately overturned it last November, ruling that it violated the South Dakota constitution’s “one subject” requirement for constitutional amendments.

Amendment A sought to change the state law on recreational marijuana, medical cannabis, and hemp. (Voters in South Dakota also approved a separate ballot proposal in 2020 that specifically legalized medical cannabis).

The state constitution “not only includes a single subject requirement but also directs proponents of a constitutional amendment to prepare an amendment so that the different subjects can be voted on separately,” Chief Justice Steven Jensen wrote in the majority opinion.

“This constitutional directive could not be expressed more clearly—each subject must be voted on separately—and simply severing certain provisions may or may not reflect the actual will of the voters,” Jensen wrote. “Therefore, we cannot accept Proponents’ suggestion that excising the medical marijuana and hemp provisions from Amendment A in favor of retaining the provisions regulating and legalizing recreational marijuana is an appropriate remedy. Amendment A is void in its entirety.”

Noem, a possible 2024 Republican presidential candidate, celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“South Dakota is a place where the rule of law and our Constitution matter, and that’s what today’s decision is about,” she said at the time. “We do things right—and how we do things matters just as much as what we are doing. We are still governed by the rule of law.”

Initiated Measure 27 qualified for the South Dakota ballot in May, after the campaign behind it, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, turned in enough verified signatures to the secretary of state’s office.

The campaign has taken a populist approach, saying that the measure will “restore the will of the people by legalizing cannabis in South Dakota for a second time.”

But this week’s poll from SDSU wasn’t the first sign that 2022 could be much different than 2020.

A survey released in late August from the local news nonprofit South Dakota News Watch and the Chiesman Center for Democracy at the University of South Dakota found that 54% of voters in the state were against recreational cannabis legalization, while 44% said they are in favor.

With just a little over three weeks to go before Election Day, legalization advocates are now preparing to barnstorm South Dakota.

Matthew Schweich, the director for “South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws,” announced at a press conference on Wednesday that the campaign is kicking off an 18-city statewide tour this weekend. 

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Poll: Majority Backs Biden’s Cannabis Pardons

The country overwhelmingly supports President Biden’s historic moves on U.S. marijuana policy, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The new poll, which comes via Politico and Morning Consult, found that 40% of Americans “strongly support” the president’s actions, while 25% “somewhat support” them.

Biden announced last week that he is issuing pardons to all individuals who have previously been convicted of a marijuana-related offense under federal law, a move that will impact thousands of Americans. Perhaps just as significantly, Biden said that he has asked “the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law,” a signal that the era of federal weed prohibition could be coming to an end.

That is welcome news to the vast majority of the country, according to the new poll.

Politico reported that almost “two-thirds of voters indicated that they support issuing pardons to people with nonviolent federal marijuana convictions,” compared with “fewer than one in four respondents [who] expressed opposition to pardoning marijuana offenders.”

The poll also suggests that Biden’s announcement last week broke through the ultra-saturated news cycle, with Politico reporting that more than “two thirds of respondents said they had heard a lot or some about the executive actions, while just 32 percent said they hadn’t heard much or anything about them.”

While Biden’s pardons only apply to individuals with federal pot convictions, the president urged “all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses.”

“As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said in his announcement last week. “Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”

He also framed the announcement as a significant first step toward decriminalization.

“Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances.  This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic,” Biden said.

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” the president continued. “It’s time that we right these wrongs.”

With the midterm elections a little less than one month away, Democrats are hoping that Biden’s actions provide them with a lift. 

On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris touted Biden’s moves as a difference between the two parties, while also calling on both Congress and state elected officials to follow the administration’s lead.

“Let me just start with saying this. I strongly believe, and the majority of Americans agree, nobody should have to go to jail for smoking weed, right?” Harris said during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. “We’re urging governors and states to take our lead and to pardon people who have been criminalized for possession of marijuana. And ultimately though, as with so many issues, if Congress acts, then there is a uniform approach to this and so many other issues. But Congress needs to act.”

“We’re 29 days away from the midterms,” the vice president added. “Ask who you’re voting for where they stand on this, and I encourage you to vote accordingly.”

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Majority in Maryland Backs Legalization Weeks Before Vote

Weeks before Maryland voters will head to the polls and decide whether to legalize recreational cannabis, a new survey suggests that the measure is poised to pass.

The Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found that 73% of voters in the state favor the legalization of cannabis for adults aged 21 and older, while only 23% said they were opposed. Four percent of voters said they had no opinion.

The findings bode well for supporters of Question 4, which would legalize adult-use marijuana in Maryland beginning July 1, 2023, and establish a regulated cannabis market in the state.

Maryland is one of several states where voters will decide on recreational pot measures this November. (Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota are the others.)

The Washington Post-University of Maryland poll, released on Wednesday, suggests Maryland is highly likely to join the 19 other states that have legalized recreational pot use for adults.

“The thing that stood out to me is the high level of support and the diversity of support. Whether you look across party, region, almost every characteristic, you see majorities supporting this,” said Michael Hanmer, the director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement, as quoted by The Washington Post. “That’s been the trend across the country. People have really shifted their views across time on this issue, all pointing in the direction of being more supportive.”

The Washington Post noted that the poll showed the measure to be “especially popular among young voters, with 87 percent of voters under 40 favoring legalization.”

“By far those most enthusiastic about legalization are young voters. Almost 9 in 10 voters under age 40 said they support legalizing cannabis, compared with roughly 7 in 10 of those ages 40 to 64 and just over half of those 65 and older,” the Post reported.

Moreover, the survey found that “77 percent of Black voters and 70 percent of White voters favor the proposal,” which also boasts “strong support from wide majorities of independents (81 percent) and registered Democrats (78 percent), along with a narrow majority of registered Republicans (53 percent).”

Lawmakers in Maryland passed legislation earlier this year to set a ballot referendum for marijuana legalization.

Question 4 is heavily backed by the cannabis giant Trulieve, which has several medical marijuana dispensaries in Maryland.

The chairman of the “Yes on 4” campaign is Eugene Monroe, a former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and a marijuana advocate.

“Legalizing cannabis would stimulate Maryland’s economy and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, while allowing Maryland residents to benefit from vital investments in education, public health, and public safety funded by cannabis taxes,” Monroe said last month, as the Question 4 campaign officially kicked off.

The “Yes on 4” campaign is bullish on what recreational marijuana could mean for Maryland’s economy.

“Marijuana legalization is projected to provide the state with over $135 million in tax revenue. That figure does not include city and county revenue or the savings from the millions of dollars Maryland spends each year enforcing marijuana possession laws. Passing Maryland Question 4 would empower local law enforcement to focus its limited resources on combating violent crimes. Of the ten counties in the United States with the highest rates of marijuana possession arrests, Maryland is home to three of them,” the campaign says on its website.

This week’s Washington Post-University of Maryland is not the first survey to suggest that Maryland voters are ready to end prohibition on pot.

A Goucher College poll released in March found that 62% of Maryland voters support legalizing cannabis for recreational use, compared with only 34% who said they were opposed.

That poll also found bipartisan support, with 65% of Democrats and independents, and 54% of Republicans, all saying they backed legalization.

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