Legal Marijuana More Popular Than Presidential Candidates

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Well, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone who follows either marijuana news or politics: A new study reports voters are more excited about the prospect of ending cannabis prohibition than they are about any of the major presidential candidates.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald TrumpThe survey, released by Quinnipiac University in May, also shows legal pot has majority support in three swing states: Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Full legalization draws support from 56 percent of voters in Florida, 52 percent in Ohio, and 57 percent in Pennsylvania. Medical marijuana is backed by 80 percent in Florida and 90 percent in Ohio; the medicinal cannabis question was not asked in Pennsylvania.

At the same time, the poll found voters give much higher approval ratings to cannabis reform than they do to the three major presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.

FLORIDA OHIO PENNSYLVANIA
Legalizing Marijuana 56% 52% 57%
Medical Marijuana 80% 90% not asked
Hillary Clinton 37% 34% 37
Donald Trump 37% 36% 39%
Bernie Sanders 43% 45% 50%

 

Clinton was supported by 37 percent of Florida voters, 34 percent of Ohio voters, and 37 percent of Pennsylvania voters. Sanders has the backing of 43 percent in Florida, 45 percent in Ohio, and 50 percent in Pennsylvania. These figures do not match actual vote totals in these states, where Clinton has won every Democratic primary election.

On the GOP side, meanwhile, Trump has support from 37 percent in Florida, 36 percent in Ohio, and 39 percent in Pennsylvania. He won substantially higher vote totals in all three states.

More Democrats favor legalization

The poll found more Democrats than Republicans favor legalization, by wide margins. In Florida, 63 percent of Democrats want to legalize, compared with 65 percent of independents and just 40 percent of Republicans. In Ohio, the numbers are 67 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of independents, and 30 percent of Republicans. In Pennsylvania, meanwhile, legalization draws 67 percent support from Democratic voters, 61 percent from independents, and 41 percent from Republicans.

FLORIDA OHIO PENNSYLVANIA
Democrats 63% 67% 67%
Independents 65% 57% 61%
Republicans 40% 30% 41%

MMJ expected to reach Ohio and Florida

Quinnipiac University PollThe wide support for medical marijuana reform suggests MMJ is likely to reach Ohio and Florida soon. The Pennsylvania Legislature recently legalized the drug for medicinal use.

Efforts to adopt medical cannabis laws in Ohio failed last year but stand a good chance of succeeding in November. And while a push in Florida fell short in 2014, it gained enough support to warrant a second try this year.

Not only did pot reform fare better than presidential candidates in the Quinnipiac survey, it also topped out the support for current elected officials in all three states, including all six senators and two of the three governors. Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the only official more popular than full legalization, though he didn’t beat medical marijuana.

The possibility of legal cannabis also won more support from voters than Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the the U.S.-Mexican border, an idea that garnered less than 50 percent backing in all three states. And legalization is more popular than both President Obama and his nomination of Merrick Garland to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Each of the three presidential candidates has promised to let states enact their own cannabis laws without interference from the federal government, which currently bans the drug for any use. But only Sanders has gone so far as to support full legalization at the federal level.

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