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WIRE: Voters support cannabis law reform in record numbers in new poll

Washington, DC — Record numbers of voters support regulating the marijuana market and oppose federal efforts to interfere or undermine state laws permitting the plant’s use or sale, according to nationwide polling data released by Quinnipiac University.

Ninety-three percent of voters — including 96 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Republicans — support “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes,” the highest total ever reported in a national poll. Among those respondents older than 65 years of age, 92 percent endorsed legalizing medical marijuana.

“Seniors’ use and acceptance of medical marijuana is rapidly rising,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “This is likely because these older Americans realize that cannabis therapy can mitigate many of their aches and pains, as well as other symptoms of disease, and that it can do so with fewer adverse side effects than many of the conventional drug cocktails so often prescribed to older Americans.”

Fifty-nine percent of voters similarly support making the adult use of marijuana legal in the United States. That total is in line with recent polling data compiled by Gallup in 2016 which reported that 60 percent of US adults support legalization — a historic high. Respondents who identified as Democrats (72 percent) were most likely to support legalization. Fifty-eight percent of Independents also expressed support, but only 35 percent of Republicans did so. Among the various age groups polled, only those over the age of 65 failed to express majority support for legalization.

“Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation’s nearly century-long experiment with marijuana prohibition and replacing it with regulation,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans’ consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for federal lawmakers to acknowledge this reality and to amend federal law in a manner that comports with public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status.”

Finally, 71 percent of respondents say that they “oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.” This percentage is the highest level of support ever reported with regard to limiting the federal government from interfering in states’ marijuana policies.

The rising support may provide a boost for pending federal legislation, HR 975: The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which prevents the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals and/or businesses who are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana. NORML strongly supports the passage of HR 975, stating: “Voters are increasingly demanding regulatory alternatives to marijuana criminalization, and states are moving ahead with these policies. They should be free to do so without federal interference or fear of prosecution.”

The Quinnipiac University poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.

For more information, please contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

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