A recent Quinnipiac poll, conducted August 15-20, asked NJ residents if they supported the legalization, expungement of criminal records, and sale of cannabis in their communities.

The poll found that New Jersey voters continue to support allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of cannabis for personal use by an overwhelming 62% – 33% majority. This is an increase compared to 59% – 37% on March 13. 

Voters also support expunging, or erasing, criminal records for marijuana possession by an even larger margin of 63% – 27%

An overwelming 90% of residents ages 18-34 support the legalization of cannabis throughout New Jersey, and 81% support the sale in their community.

By a smaller majority of 50% – 45%, voters support the sale of cannabis in their community. So far, over 30 towns have banned the sale of cannabis, while a few have taken a wait and see approach. Yet there are others, such as Jersey City, Trenton, Atlantic City, and Asbury Park have all publicly embraced the idea of cannabis in their communities.

AdvocateAlong political lines, the poll also found that only 28% of Republicans supported legal cannabis being sold in their communities, compared to 66% of Democrats. For overall legalization, the survey found that 78% of Democrats supported legal cannabis in New Jersey, compared to 41% of Republicans.

NJ residents with college degrees also overwhelmingly support the legalization, expungement of records, and sale of cannabis in New Jersey.

From August 15 – 20, Quinnipiac University surveyed 908 New Jersey voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points, including the design effect. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones. Residents were asked about the legalization, expungement of records, and sale of cannabis in their community and throughout the state.

Although there is no specific bill yet presented to the legislature, there are two bills being finalized. The poll results come just on the heels of Senate President Steve Sweeney declaring he likely has the votes required for legalization to pass.

Who Do You Agree With?

Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a leading marijuana prohibitionist group in the country, said the poll shows that marijuana support isn’t as high when people think about the potential impact of weed. But it seems like these arguments are becoming continually less believable.

“We know that most people who say they favor legalization really favor simply not putting people in prison for pot,” Sabet said, as reported by NJ.COM. “That’s very different than selling and advertising highly potent edibles, candies and concentrates.”

Cannabis legalization and expansion will likely be a hot-button issue during this election cycle. With many towns rushing to ban cannabis without seeing or knowing what a bill may even look like, these politicians are likely walking on thin ice.


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