Last December, New Jersey lawmakers approved a resolution that would put a referendum on legalizing marijuana on the state’s 2020 ballot. A select group of lawmakers, advocates as well as Gov. Phil Murphy has been hoping to pass the marijuana legalization measure last year, but disagreements over the specifics of the bill made it impossible.
With the decision to legalize marijuana to be put on a referendum, they were hoping voters would vote in favor of legalization. “We’re optimistic that next November New Jersey voters will replace an eight-decade long policy disaster with a far more sensible approach to marijuana,” Karen O’Keefe, state policies director for the Marijuana Policy Project said at the time.
A survey by Monmouth University has found that their hopes may not be unfounded. 704 registered voters were interviewed from April 16 to 19, and a majority of them were in favor of marijuana legalization. 61% of the respondents said they would vote in support of the proposal, while 34% said they would vote against it.
On the political front, 74% of the Democrats, 74% of the independents, and 40% of the Republicans said they would vote in favor of the legalization measure in the referendum.
78% of those aged 18-34, 62% of those between 35-54 and 48% of those 55 and older supported the legalization measure. When the voters were asked about allowing individuals 21 and older to possess small amounts of cannabis, 64% were in support of it while 32% were against it.
Additionally, 48% of the New Jersey residents stated that it would be a good idea to let adults purchase cannabis from a licensed store as opposed to the black market. 38% said it was a bad idea, while 22% said they didn’t have an opinion on the matter.
“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,” explains Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The survey also found that six in ten New Jersey voters (62%) believe that legalizing marijuana is good for the economy. 10% say legalization will hurt the economy and 21% believe it would have no impact either way.
However, 27% of the respondents believe legalizing marijuana would lead to an increase in other drug-related crimes while 22% believe it will lead to a decrease in other drug crimes instead. 46% say legalization won’t have an effect either way.
Experts are of the view that support for the referendum may grow as campaigners get to work to marshal further support among the voters. It would be interesting to pick the brains of established companies like Round Meadow Holdings Corp. and The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) on what they think the prospects of legalization on voting day are.
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