Kentucky lawmakers are considering whether to pursue medical marijuana. A new poll suggests that the people in the state are more than ready.
The survey, conducted on behalf of Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, a nonprofit in the state, found that a staggering nine in 10 of adults there “favor allowing the purchase and use of marijuana for medical purposes if a doctor recommends it.”
Additionally, the poll found that 59 percent of Kentuckians support allowing marijuana under any circumstances, while 49 percent favor allowing marijuana for recreational purposes.
Those numbers show a dramatic change in attitudes toward pot, according to the pollsters. In 2012, the last time they tested those questions in Kentucky, 78 percent said they supported medical cannabis, while only 38 percent said they supported pot under circumstances and just 26 percent said they supported it for recreational purposes.
The latest poll, which was conducted from October 16-December 6, 2019 using telephone interviews with 1,559 Kentucky adults, showed virtually no partisan divide on the issue of medical cannabis. Ninety-five percent of Democrats said they supported it for medical purposes, compared with 90 percent of Republicans. According to the poll, 68 percent of Democrats support pot under any circumstances, while 51 percent of Republicans say the same.
The polling comes as the Kentucky legislature circles several marijuana proposals. Republican lawmakers in the state house have committed to pursuing House Bill 136, a measure to legalize medical marijuana, early in the 2020 session.
The bill failed to make it out of committee last year, but the legislation has since gained commitments from dozens of other state House representatives.
In addition to that bill, state House Rep. Cluster Howard, a Democrat, pre-filed legislation in December to make a series of reforms to the Kentucky’s marijuana law. Howard’s proposal would make it legal for adults 21 and older to purchase, possess, and consume marijuana, while also creating a framework for regulating and taxing recreational retail sales, among other changes.
“Other states have shown that legalizing cannabis for adult use is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Howard said at the time. “It’s a major revenue generator. It frees up critical jail and prison space. It helps counteract the deadly opioid epidemic. And it gives farmers a major new cash crop. The longer we wait, the more we miss out on these benefits.”