Last December, the New Jersey Senate approved a resolution that would put a referendum on legalizing marijuana on this year’s November ballot. Although certain lawmakers had pegged their hopes on legalizing cannabis legislatively, numerous disagreements over the specifics of the bill made it impossible, forcing them to put the question of broad cannabis reform onto the voters. A recent survey conducted by DKC Analytics and released on Tuesday has found that a supermajority of New Jersey voters is in support of the measure.
The poll involved phone interviews with 500 New Jersey likely voters from July 7 to 12, and 68% of the respondents said they backed the policy change, a 7% increase compared to a separate poll on cannabis reform released in April. 78.5% of the Democrats polled supported legalizing cannabis, with 57% of Republicans and 63% of Independents also in favor of cannabis reform. 70% of the respondents said they feel a regulated cannabis program would hurt the black market, 61% said legalization would ensure the products being sold were safer, and 60% said that decriminalizing cannabis would save taxpayer dollars that would otherwise go to law enforcement.
Additionally, 57% of the respondents said legalization would stimulate the economy and create jobs while 43% felt that cannabis is safer than alcohol. On the other hand, those against legalization were concerned about folks driving while impaired (38%), increased youth access to cannabis (27%), and cannabis serving as a gateway drug (24%).
On whether individual jurisdictions should be able to ban marijuana businesses, 44% of the respondents were in support while 44% said they shouldn’t. 71% of the respondents said cannabis consumption should be on private property while 68% supported expunging the records of individuals with prior low-level marijuana convictions. 68% of the respondents also said that tax revenue from cannabis sales should go toward drug education and awareness programs.
“The polling results confirmed our belief that there is overwhelming support for the creation of a regulated, adult-use cannabis marketplace in New Jersey,” says John Fanburg, an attorney at Brach Eichler, which commissioned the survey. “Respondents supported it because it will create tremendous opportunity. It will create vitally needed new business, the state will receive significant tax revenues and illegal sales will be dramatically reduced, if not eliminated. Voters see this as a win for everyone.”
Charles Gormally, also of Brach Eichler, states that decriminalizing cannabis will go a long way in reversing the damage done by the war on drugs on certain communities. “The strong level of support for correcting this decades-old inequality, especially in the context of recent protests of inherent racial bias in law enforcement, should be well noted by our legislators who will be taxed with correcting this unfortunate consequence of the failed policy of prohibition.”
Experts believe that the results of this poll may not have come as a surprise to sector players like Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) who have seen how much public opinion has shifted in favor of ending prohibition.
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