The results of a New Jersey poll released on Thursday show strong support for a November ballot measure that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis in the state. The Monmouth University Poll found that more than six out of 10 Garden State residents were in favor of the ballot question.
If successful, the referendum would amend the New Jersey Constitution to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults and allow those 21 and older to purchase small quantities of marijuana from businesses regulated by the state. Lawmakers voted late last year to put the measure on the November ballot after a bid to legalize cannabis failed to pass in the legislature.
The Monmouth poll found that 61% of voters would vote in favor of the ballot question while 34% said they would vote against it. Only 5% said that they had no opinion. The poll of 704 adults was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute of West Long Branch, New Jersey via telephone on April 16 through April 19. The results include the responses of 635 registered voters and have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
Widespread Support for Legalization
Support for legalization was strongest among Democrats, with 74% in favor, while 60% of independents and 40% of Republicans said that they would vote for the measure. The poll also asked respondents how they felt about marijuana legalization and found that 48% said it was a good idea, 30% said it was a bad idea, and 22% said that they had no opinion.
“Support for the marijuana ballot measure is widespread in part because many who have no opinion on whether legalization is a good idea figure they might as well vote for it,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Six out of 10 New Jersey voters, or 62%, said that legalizing cannabis would help the state’s economy, while 21% said it would have no impact and 10% said legalization would harm the economy. Just over a quarter, or 27%, said that they believed legalizing marijuana will lead to an increase in other drug crimes and 22% believe it will actually reduce crimes related to other drugs. Almost half, or 46%, said they don’t believe legalization will have an impact either way on other drug crimes.
Details to Follow
Although the poll showed strong support for legalization, activists worry it might not be palatable to voters when they actually see the ballot question, which is thin on detail and requires the legislature to pass regulations to enact it.“The poll numbers show that there is a lot of work to do to ensure success in November,” said Bill Caruso, a founding member of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform and an attorney who represents various cannabis-related clients.
“The problem is the details of this proposal aren’t defined because the statute hasn’t passed yet. That’s going to be a problem going into the fall to try to explain to the public what will come If legalization happens.”