polling

4/23/20 By DAN ULLOA

A poll conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute said a comfortable 61 percent of those surveyed said they would in fact vote for legalization on the ballot referendum in November.

New Jersey voters will also be asked to weigh in on whether the state should legalize marijuana on November 3rd. Currently, 61 percent say they would vote for and 34 percent would vote against a November ballot measure to amend the state Constitution “to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called cannabis for adults at least 21 years of age” in a market overseen by a state commission.  Only five percent of those polled had no opinion on this.

Support for the referendum is bipartisan with 74 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of independents, and 40 percent of Republicans supporting its passage.

The response to the aligns with trends in New Jersey voter opinion on cannabis. Overall, 64 percent of New Jerseyans say that they support legalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use, while 32 percent are opposed. These results are similar to polls taken in 2019 (61 percent support and 34 percent oppose) and 2018 (60 percent support and 35 percent oppose), while support has grown since 2014 (48 percent support and 47 percent oppose).

“People in the Garden State want the constitutional right to cultivate,” said Edward “Lefty” Grimes, host of the Sativa Cross: Ignorance is No Excuse show and a radical cannabis advocate. “If the black marketeers, or if even the cannabis industry in NJ, truly had compassion, they wouldn’t mind a cancer patient growing their own cannabis.”

Over the past six years, Monmouth has also been asking about the specific proposal to allow adults aged 21 years or older to purchase small quantities of marijuana from businesses licensed by the state. Currently, 48 percent say it is a good idea, 30 percent say it is a bad idea, and 22 percent have no opinion on it. These results are similar to 2019 (48 percent good idea, 35 percent bad idea, 17 percent no opinion) and more positive than in 2014 (36 percent good idea, 46 percent bad idea, 17 percent no opinion).

“Support for the marijuana ballot measure is widespread in part because many who have no opinion on whether legalization is a good idea figure they might as well vote for it,” Institute Director Patrick Murray said, guessing based on the data.

This is among the many conclusions one can draw from the data. However, are people really going to support something they have no opinion on? Wouldn’t they just be neutral then?

Poll Indicates Belief in Legalization as Economic Stimulus

According to the poll, six in ten New Jersey voters (62 percent) believe legalizing marijuana would help the state’s economy, including 69 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of independents, and 55 percent of Republicans. Only 10 percent of voters say it would hurt the economy and 21 percent say it would have no impact. These findings are in line with poll results over the past two years.

This is a major issue as policymakers scatter to find ways to improve the economy after businesses have been forced to shut down for an extended period of time.

Thus, advocates for legalization should find the results quite heartening.

In the poll, only 27 percent of New Jersey voters think that legalizing cannabis marijuana would lead to an increase in other drug crimes. Almost as many voters (22 percent) believe it will lead to a decrease in other drug crimes. A plurality of all voters (46 percent) think that cannabis legalization will not have an impact on other drug crimes.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 16 to 19, 2020 with 704 New Jersey adults. Results were based on 635 registered voters and have a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points.

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