Another poll weighted to be nationally representative of US voters has shown strong support for legalising adult use of recreational cannabis and also broad backing for inserting social equity measures into any federal plan.
The survey from Data For Progress took in 1,228 “likely” voters nationally using web panel respondents. It was weighted to be representative by age, gender, education, race, geography, and voting history.
It found overall support (divided between “strongly” and “somewhat” supportive) for federal legalisation was about 65%, with 30% against, the remainder saying they didn’t know. This is broadly consistent with other recent polls.
Dividing by stated political party still showed majority support, with 75% of Democrats, 67% of “independents” and even 52% of Republicans saying they supported the idea.
Data For Progress further divided its sample into two groups and asked both about social equity measures that were implemented in New York during its recent recreational legalisation. This included giving the first 100-200 licences only to those impacted by cannabis prohibition and other under-represented groups, as well as ring-fencing 40% of revenue collected from cannabis for community-based initiative programmes.
Why doesn’t the press want to know?
Both measures enjoyed broad support, with 57% topline support for the former and 65% support for the latter – though these are percentages of only half the sample.
Interestingly, reserving licences was the only measure that did not enjoy majority Republican support, with only 43% saying they would back such a measure, while 52% were definitively opposed.
However, despite the apparently clear picture, the survey received little press coverage outside industry channels – perhaps because it merely reinforces results found in other recent polls. This survey is not the first to find majority support among Americans or Republicans, yet legalisation is no nearer a prospect at the federal level.
The fact that broad support for recreational cannabis legalisation in the US has so quickly gone from “Man Bites Dog” to “Dog Bites Man” territory in terms of newsworthiness is in itself somewhat surprising. Mainstream media turning a blind eye may also have something to do with Data For Progress being considered a fairly heavily Democrat (and thus left) leaning pollster. Perhaps results from a traditionally Republican organisation such as Fox News showing majority support for cannabis legalisation and broad Republican backing would attract more attention.
As for actual progress on legalising recreational cannabis at the federal level, the electoral college will continue to deliver a degree of parity in elected representatives rather than matching the will of the majority. This will continue to make cannabis legalisation of any sort a more difficult – and more controversial – topic than it would need to be if judged solely on popularity.
– Freddie Dawson CannIntelligence staff