Support for legalizing marijuana has apparently spread into portions of the Deep South, a place long hostile to the idea.
A new poll shows most Virginians back legalization of pot and nearly 90 percent favor allowing medical marijuana in their state. Those numbers are remarkably strong for a Southern state, yet another sign that the current wave of cannabis reform is here to stay.
Roughly 86 percent of Virginia voters told pollsters they want to see medical weed made legal. Just 11 percent said they oppose the idea. The state recently became the 12th in the country to allow CBD oil, a restricted, non-intoxicating form of the drug, but doesn’t yet permit full medicinal pot.
Most Virginians want recreational weed
Meanwhile, 54 percent of respondents said they would vote to legalize recreational weed as well. That makes Virginia the second state in the Old South, after Florida, where a majority of residents want to follow the example of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.
Forty-one percent of voters oppose full legalization, according to the poll, which was released by Quinnipiac University April 14. The strongest opposition comes from Republicans, 57 percent of who said they would vote against reform.
Young voters and Democrats showing most support
The strongest support, on the other hand, comes from young voters and Democrats. Voters between the ages of 18 and 34 said they back legalization by a whopping margin of 54 percentage points, 75 percent in favor and only 21 percent against.
Gen-X voters, those between the ages of 35 and 54, also support legalization, with 59 percent in favor and 36 percent opposed. Older voters were the only age group who said they plan to vote against the idea.
But backing for legal weed doesn’t mean Virginians are much more likely to try the drug. Just 15 percent of the poll’s respondents said they would probably use cannabis if it were legalized. That presumably includes people who already smoke up.
Legal weed is here to stay
The survey was part of a larger Swing State Poll by Quinnipiac, which also interviewed voters in Iowa and Colorado. The overall results prove support for legal pot is exploding in the United States.
Voters in all three states said they strongly favor medical marijuana, while only Iowa voters fell short of a majority for legalizing recreational weed. The results outside Virginia also suggest pot reform is not leading more people to toke.
The Colorado survey, for example, found only 18 percent of voters have tried the drug since it became legal there. Pollsters got similar results in Iowa.
Though support for reform is softer in that state, it’s still relatively strong. Roughly 47 percent of Iowa voters said they want to legalize while the same number said they don’t.