A new survey has found that a majority of Montana residents favors the legalization of marijuana in their state. Results of the Big Sky Poll were released by the University of Montana on Thursday. A bare-bones majority of 51 percent of registered voters replied “yes” when asked the question, “Do you think marijuana should be legalized in Montana?” Only 37 percent of respondents said that they were opposed to the legalization of cannabis.
Support for legalization by political affiliation varied widely, with 80 percent of Democrats but only 33 percent of Republicans saying that pot should be legal. Responses also differed markedly by age. 67 percent of voters aged 18-26 and 64 percent of 27-46-year-olds favoring legalization; for those aged 47-66, support dropped to 56 percent, while only 29 percent of those 67 and older favored the legalization of cannabis in Montana.
Cannabis Has Montana Residents Seeing Green
Andrea Effertz of Kalispell, Montana told local media that she supported the legalization of marijuana because cannabis sales could be a source of new tax revenue for the state.
“I think it could be really helpful for our roads, maybe, our school systems, whatever it could go toward,” she said.
Another Montana resident, Karen Nichols, also cited the funds that could be raised from taxes on marijuana sales as a reason to support legalization.
“The state needs tax revenue,” said Nichols. “We’ve made huge cuts in social services, and any way we can restore some of that funding I think is great.”
She added that she is in favor of legalization provided that tight regulations are enacted to ensure public safety.
“I do support it, if it’s done well,” Nichols said.
The UM Big Sky Poll was conducted online between February 21 and March 1 with 293 Montana registered voters. The poll collects and reports the views of Montana residents on a variety of local, state, and federal issues. It is commissioned with the support of the University of Montana Social Research Laboratory. The ongoing survey will next be conducted in the fall of 2019. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.72 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
National Support for Legalization Rising
Another poll released this week showed that support for the legalization of cannabis continues to grow nationwide. The 2018 General Social Survey found that 61 percent of Americans now favor the legalization of marijuana. That figure is the highest ever in the history of the survey, which has been following the views on cannabis legalization in the United States since 1973. Support for legalization today is almost four times higher than the lowest level of 16 percent, recorded in 1987 and 1990.
Support for cannabis legalization in the 2018 survey was also the highest level recorded for all age groups, U.S. regions, and political affiliations. For young adults aged 18-34, 72 percent favored the legalization of marijuana.