A new poll has found that a majority of North Carolina voters support legalizing cannabis for recreational use, but the survey shows a vast generational gap on the subject.
North Carolina Voters Support Legal Cannabis
Nearly 55% of North Carolinians support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, up 9% from the last comparable poll in 2017. Even more impressive, the percentage in opposition to recreational legalization fell nearly 17 points. Jason Husser, the director of the Elon Poll, says the opposition “fell substantially over the past three years. [He] suspects this is due in large part to the wave of states that have passed legalization measures.”
However, overall support of medical marijuana legalization seems to have wavered a bit – a result of years of inaction by state lawmakers. 73% of North Carolina voters stood in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, down a surprising seven points from the previous poll. Those in opposition to the change in policy remained consistent.
Respondents were also polled on a series of questions varying from the criminal penalties associated with cannabis possession to the potential impacts of legalization. The poll found that a solid majority (67%) of North Carolina residents support reducing penalties for possession, with only 20% of residents opposed.
The remainder of the results are as follows:
“Is marijuana a ‘gateway drug’ that leads to the use of ‘hard drugs’ like heroin or cocaine?”
Don’t Know: 20%
“Would legalizing marijuana help or hurt the economy in North Carolina?”
Don’t Know: 21%
“Would vehicle accidents increase or decrease if marijuana was legalized?”
Don’t Know: 48%
“Would crime increase or decrease if marijuana was legalized?”
Don’t Know: 31%
“Is it morally wrong to use marijuana?”
Don’t Know: 15%
North Carolina on Cannabis: Demo Breakdown
Even more telling than the questions asked is the demographic breakdown on the answers. While opinions on medical marijuana legalization were fairly level across all age groups and political affiliations, the numbers fluctuate in the case of recreational marijuana.
Consistent with demographic trends in other recent surveys, young people were most in favor of adult-use legalization, with the 18-24 and 25-44 age groups polling at 62% and 66%, respectively. But those numbers drop drastically as we look at older subjects, with only 52% of people 45-64 supporting legalization and only 32% of senior citizens backing it.
As for political party, predictably – Democrats reacted more positively than Republicans to the idea, with 59% in support, compared to 43%. Speaking on the gaps in demographics, Husser said, “We found a major generational gap for recreational marijuana legalization with those under 44 being about twice as likely as those 65 or older to support legalization. Notably, these large generational differences do not extend to support for medical marijuana and lowering criminal penalties. Most Republicans also supported reducing penalties and legalizing medical marijuana.”
To see the full poll and demographic breakdown, check here.
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