New Poll Bodes Well For Biden, Marijuana Legalization In New Jersey
New Jersey voters across the political spectrum strongly support the legalization of cannabis and former Vice President Joe Biden for the November ballot.
That's according to a new poll from law firm Brach Eichler LLC that surveyed some 500 registered voters in the Garden State.
Up to 68% of the respondents said they would vote in favor of the initiative to legalize the purchase of cannabis from licensed businesses. Some 26% of those who responded said they would oppose it, while just 6% said they were "unsure."
The ballot initiative, which Benzinga reported on in June, found the most support from Democrats, with a response of 78 to 19%. Fifty-seven percent of Republican respondents also expressed support, with 39% opposed. Independent support hovered 63 to 27%.
Most of the respondents — 57% — said they were not marijuana users. Just 17% said they used it, 14% said they had previously, and 9% said they’d consider trying it if it was legalized.
This is the first of a series of polls conducted by Brach Eichler's cannabis practice. It was conducted from July 7 to July 12, 2020 and done in partnership with DKC Analytics. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
“As New Jersey voters consider creating a new multi-billion-dollar industry in the heart of largest metropolitan area in the country, we believe it is important to assess the marketplace attitudes and public sentiments about cannabis to help us guide both our clients and regulators,” said Charles X. Gormally, Co-Chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at the firm.
The poll also revealed that 68% of respondents felt it was also appropriate to clear the criminal records of anyone convicted of a low-level criminal charge related to marijuana.
"The strong level of support for correcting this decades-old inequality, especially in the context of recent protests of inherent bias in law enforcement, should be well noted by our legislators who will be tasked with correcting this unfortunate consequence of the failed policy of prohibition,” Gormally added.
The Brach Eichler Cannabis Poll also found that a total of 51% of respondents said they supported Biden, compared to 33% who said they supported U.S. President Donald Trump, the incumbent Republican.
Eight percent were unsure, and 7% said they favored another candidate.
Biden recently disclosed, via his "Unity task force" with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a pro-cannabis policy. The task force outlined a cannabis policy that remained in line with the measures proposed by the STATES Act, a bill introduced in Congress last year.
The recommendations seek:
- Democrat support of cannabis decriminalization and the rescheduling of cannabis through executive action on the federal level
- Democrat support of legalization for medical cannabis federally
- The right for every state to decide on recreational use
- Avoidance of federal prosecution for conducts that are legal on the state level
- The expungement of cannabis-related criminal convictions
- The consideration of substance use disorders as diseases, not crimes, with a focus on the use of drug courts, harm reduction interventions, and treatment diversion programs
Separately, a research report by Bank of America Securities predicts that cannabis legalization will likely be an important issue for the U.S. presidential election of 2020. And New Jersey isn't the only state considering cannabis legalization. Six other states — Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota — are expected to include cannabis reform measures on the 2020 ballot.
Governors from New Mexico and Pennsylvania have also voiced opinions in favor of this path, as well as spokespeople from many of the jurisdictions in California that have not yet allowed for legal cannabis.
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