Are Republicans attitudes coming around on support for recreational marijuana?

by | Jun 9, 2023



  • A poll conducted earlier this year shows a surprising number of Republicans think the time has come to end the federal prohibition on recreational marijuana use.
  • The surprising results are particularly notable in Sunshine State, which is expected to have a marijuana legalization amendment on the November 2024 ballot.
  • The poll found that Republicans are generally supportive across a wide range of demographic categories, including age, gender, education and religious affiliation.

As Florida’s proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana continues to surmount key obstacles, a poll conducted earlier this year yielded a surprising result: a strong majority of likely 2024 Republican primary and caucus voters support the measure. The data was gathered during a survey conducted by FTP Insights on behalf of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation (CPEAR).

The online survey, conducted from January 20th to January 25th, 2023, shows that 68% of the polled Republican voters nationwide favor ending the federal prohibition on cannabis for adult use. While opponents point out that the online poll’s methodology could be flawed, the real takeaway is that the new poll marks a 10-point increase from a similar survey conducted a year before. The FTP Inisghts says the margin of error is +/- 4.00% at the 95% confidence level.

Also of note: the poll showed strong Republican support regardless of demographic breakdown, including age, gender, education, and religious service attendance. Notably, 83% of respondents between the ages of 21-44, and 58% of those aged 45 and above voiced support for cannabis reform.

The survey is especially poignant because of the proposed Florida ballot initiative, spearheaded by Smart & Safe Florida and financially backed by Trulieve Inc., a major player in the medical marijuana market. The group has amassed 967,528 validated signatures — surpassing the required threshold by more than 70,000. If approved by voters next year, the measure would allow adults aged 21 and over to possess up to three ounces of marijuana for personal use and permit medical marijuana treatment centers to sell cannabis for recreational use.

Although the proposed amendment still awaits a review by the Florida Supreme Court and a potential legal challenge from state Attorney General Ashley Moody, the widespread support from Republican voters could signal a significant shift in Florida’s drug policy.

An additional finding from the CPEAR poll indicated that 70% of likely Republican voters believe states should retain the power to decide the legality of cannabis within their borders. Moreover, the poll suggested that a candidate’s support for ending federal prohibition of adult-use cannabis could enhance their appeal, with 52% of respondents saying they would be more likely to vote for such a candidate.

However, the survey also noted that a candidate’s stance on cannabis policy is not a primary voting concern for Republican primary and caucus voters. It ranks second to last on a list of tested issues, with inflation, taxes, government spending, and crime identified as the most significant factors.

The proposed constitutional amendment’s potential appearance on the 2024 ballot could influence voter turnout, particularly among young voters, and potentially impact Florida’s political climate. The state, having swung in favor of both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates in recent years, could find its tipping point in the cannabis legalization debate.

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Those who support the recreational use of marijuana should consider:
    Federal law that predates marijuana legalization states that users of controlled substances, including cannabis, are prohibited from possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving firearms or ammunition. Smoke dope, loose your 2nd Amendment rights.

    • Anonymous

      Until the Feds decriminalize it or change 18US922 to allow MJ

  2. Deborah Coffey

    So amazing. Your standard bearer, twice impeached, twice indicted former president was just indicted. No headline? Distract with marijuana? Republicans were never the party of law and order…unless it was for minorities.

    “A 2020 analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union, concluded, “Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession, notwithstanding comparable usage rates.” Authors reported, “In every single state, Black people were more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, and in some states, Black people were up to six, eight, or almost ten times more likely to be arrested. In 31 states, racial disparities were actually larger in 2018 than they were in 2010.”
    American Civil Liberties Union, A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform, 2020

    • Brian Burgess

      Oh please. Isn’t there enough coverage of that circus already? You honestly think I’m trying to “distract” people with a marijuana poll? No. I’m just a businessman trying to offer readers a different menu item than the $2 Trump hotdogs being served on every street corner in America today.

  3. MH/Duuuval

    BB should have checked with Matt Gaetz for a choice quote on the subject. This is one of Gaetz’s few redeeming qualities.

 

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