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Cannabis Poll: Legal Cannabis is More Popular Than Joe Biden in NJ

A poll by the law firm Brach Eichler shows that cannabis legalization enjoys 66 percent support to Joe Biden’s 52 percent support.

Support for legal cannabis is high across all voters, with 77 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of Republicans, and 58 percent of independent voters in favor of legalization.

Joe Biden for President Polling

Among those same voters, 52 percent said they would vote for Joe Biden for president, while 33 percent backed Trump. The remaining 15 percent were split between favoring another candidate or being unsure.

In 2012, legalization ultimately secured more votes than Barack Obama in Colorado.

Some have noted cannabis legalization was excluded from the Democratic Party’s 2020 Platform. It was also not mentioned during this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Overall, New Jersey voters remained in support of legalizing cannabis. 66 percent are in favor, 27 percent opposed, and seven percent unsure. Voter awareness was also strong, with 71 percent saying they knew of the referendum and 29 percent unaware.

The poll found New Jersey voters believe that if cannabis legalized for recreational use should be taxed at a higher rate than the general 6.625 percent sales tax.

Of those surveyed, 55 percent said recreational cannabis should be taxed at a higher rate than the current 6.625 percent state sales tax. 30 percent opposed it.

Election Analysis

“Most people don’t favor higher taxes. But we believe this reflects both an awareness of the fiscal needs of the State, as well as an understanding that other states that have legalized cannabis have imposed taxes and surcharges of up to 25 percent,” said Charles Gormally, Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Brach Eichler. “Voters are also saying they want the revenue derived from this taxation to be earmarked for drug awareness and education.” The poll showed 71 percent favored that use for revenue, and 16 percent opposed it, he noted.

Most states have imposed very high sales taxes on cannabis. The underground market consistently outsells the highly regulated legal market in California due to the high cost of legal cannabis.

Sales tax on cannabis has become a hot subject in New Jersey as the state faces a budget crunch.

The issue of where cannabis-derived tax revenue goes has become controversial. In the wake of the recent BLM protests, it was found that many police departments have been able to secure a sizable chunk of the revenue for their ends.

Support for “home rule,” allowing municipalities to decide if cannabis businesses would be allowed in their towns, remains narrow. 45 percent are in favor, 39 percent opposed, and 16 percent unsure. Home rule gives municipalities in New Jersey great leeway in implementing cannabis reform. Most of them have used it to block the possibility of a dispensary within their borders.

Cannabis Poll Results

The Brach Eichler cannabis poll also found that support for “consumption lounges,” bars for cannabis, slipped since the first poll. The August survey found lounges were backed 47 percent to 41 percent. That’s a little down from the July survey when support was 50 percent versus 38 percent opposed. In both polls, 12 percent were undecided.

Voters surveyed said New Jersey should ensure minorities have fair and equal access to the market. It polled 74 percent to 12 percent, with 14 percent unsure.

“This reflects the increasing national awareness and growing concern about how minority groups have been disproportionately impacted by the failed policy of cannabis prohibition,” said Gormally. “Meaningful minority group participation in the ownership of new cannabis businesses is a direct and credible way to address this.”

New Jersey voters remained overwhelmingly in support of legalizing cannabis with 66 percent in favor. 27 percent were opposed, and seven percent were unsure. Voter awareness was also strong, with 71 percent saying they knew of the impending vote and 29 percent unaware.

“Public awareness and support for the legalization of adult cannabis use is steady or growing,” said John Fanburg, Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Brach Eichler. “Voters are recognizing the importance of addressing the social justice impact of disproportional enforcement and arrests against New Jersey’s minority population.  It will be interesting to see how the results change when lobbying for and against the initiative intensifies this fall.”

The Brach Eichler Cannabis Poll questioned 500 registered New Jersey voters from August 5 to August 13, 2020. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.4 percent.

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