We have a trio of polls to report on concerning marijuana. First, Huffington Post and YouGov teamed up to poll Americans on their feelings regarding the responsible use of cannabis by adults. Then we have two state polls from Louisiana and New Jersey.
When YouGov asked “Is it possible to be a responsible adult and occasionally smoke marijuana?” 59 percent of Americans agreed. There was no gender, age, political, racial, income, or regional demographic that disagreed, though retirees (45 percent) and blacks (49 percent) were pluralities, not majorities, and Republicans were nearly evenly split at 46 percent to 43 percent.
But when the follow-up question was asked, “Do you think it makes it harder or easier to be a responsible adult if a person occasionally smokes marijuana?” majorities of age 65+ (53 percent) and Republicans (57 percent) chose “harder,” while pluralities and majorities of every other demographic said it made no difference.
Finally, when asked “Do you think most people who occasionally smoke marijuana are responsible adults, or not?” only Republicans (52 percent) were a majority saying we aren’t, while surprisingly, young adults 18-29 (44 percent) were a larger plurality than retirees aged 65+ (43 percent) who thought we’re not responsible adults. All other groups formed pluralities or majorities that found us responsible, except Hispanics, who were split 44 percent toward irresponsible, 43 percent toward responsible.
Our second poll comes from Louisiana State University, which has noted a rise in support for marijuana reform in the Bayou State. When asked whether Louisianans support legalization of recreational marijuana, 44 percent of Louisianans are for it, up from 42 percent the year before. There is, again, that gender gap, with men 49 percent in support and women 11 points back at 38 percent. Support for legalization is greatest under age 35, among European-Americans, and Democrats.
Louisiana’s support for medical marijuana accounts for almost four out of five (79 percent) residents. Almost two-thirds of Louisianans (65 percent) believe marijuana legalization is inevitable, but that is 73 percent of men vs. 59 percent of women.
Our last poll comes from Monmouth University / Asbury Park Press, which asks whether New Jersey residents support legalization of recreational marijuana, residents are split, 48 percent for, 47 percent against. The gender gap is strong in New Jersey with 56 percent of men in favor but only 39 percent of women -- a full 17-point gap. Having children made little difference in legalization support, but smoking pot sure did, with two-thirds of tokers supporting legalization and 59 percent of non-tokers against it.
When the question is tailored to ask whether New Jersey residents support pot shops selling to adults, a plurality of residents (45 percent) opposed the idea. Earmarking pot tax revenues for transportation didn’t make any difference to 64 percent of voters, while 24% said that would help them support legalization. A bare majority of 52 percent believed marijuana use is a serious problem in this country.
But when they ask whether New Jersey residents believe marijuana is safer than alcohol and tobacco, almost three-out-of-five in New Jersey believe alcohol (59 percent) and tobacco (58 percent) are more dangerous than marijuana and only one-in-five think alcohol (18 percent) and tobacco (21 percent) are safer than marijuana.
"Radical" Russ Belville is the host of "The Russ Belville Show.