New Jersey is poised to join the growing number of states to legalize recreational marijuana use when voters head to the polls next month, according to a new survey out this week.
The latest Brach Eichler Cannabis Poll showed that 65 percent of likely Garden State voters either strongly or somewhat support a referendum that will appear on the New Jersey ballot to legalize pot for adults 21 and older. Twenty-nine percent said they were opposed, while six percent said they remain undecided with less than a month before Election Day.
“While we are seeing some ads regarding the referendum, there seem to be far fewer than for previous referenda,” John Fanburg, co-chair of the cannabis practice at Brach Eichler, said, as quoted by NJ.com. “We are also seeing increased awareness of the initiative in the past three weeks, meaning voters have been reading press reports or investigating the issue on their own and not relying on one-sided ads to educate themselves.”
As NJ.com noted, Brach Eichler “is a law firm that stands to benefit from legalization, and has worked with DKC Analytics to conduct four polls on the ballot question.”
A bill introduced in the New Jersey state legislature last year to legalize recreational marijuana went up in smoke after lawmakers walked away from the legislation. In its place, legislators passed a bill to leave the matter up to voters in 2020. Under the proposal, adults in New Jersey aged 21 and older would be able to use marijuana recreationally, while the state would have the power to levy taxes on pot. The measure also calls for the creation of a state commission to regulate the new marijuana industry.
Democrat Craig Coughlin, the speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, said at the time that putting “the issue to a referendum is both sensible and equitable.”
“While not our preferred method of legislating, public questions allow voters to affirm or deny massive shifts in public policy,” Coughlin said in a statement.
Coughlin added that the “time to end the prohibition of adult-use cannabis is now.”
By All Accounts, NJ Voters Want Legal MJ
The latest Brach Eichler poll is not the first piece of encouraging data for marijuana advocates in New Jersey. A previous Brach Eichler poll in July that surveyed registered voters found that 68 percent said they planned to vote to legalize pot. Prior to that, in April, a poll from Monmouth University showed that 61 percent supported the ballot measure to legalize weed.
Earlier this month, a poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University showed that around 61 percent of voters either intended to vote for the measure or had already done so. According to NJ.com, the latest Brach Eichler poll also found robust support for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, to issue pardons for those previously convicted of low-level pot offenses, with 68 percent saying they are in favor of the move.
The Brach Eichler poll was conducted between October 5-October 13 through interviews with 500 likely New Jersey voters. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.