By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
A majority of Indiana residents believe that marijuana should be legally regulated like alcohol and nearly 80 percent of Hoosiers support taxing it, according to recently released statewide polling data released by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University.
Fifty-two percent of respondents said that cannabis "should be regulated like alcohol." Forty-five percent of respondents opposed legalization. Among self-identified Democrats, 64 percent of respondents backed regulation. Forty-nine percent of self-identified Republicans did so.
Hoosiers support for taxing cannabis was even stronger. Seventy-eight percent of respondents, including strong majorities of both major political parties, answered 'yes' to the question, "Should we tax marijuana like alcohol/cigarettes?" Only 19 percent of respondents opposed the idea.
Under present state law, first-time marijuana possession offenses of under 30 grams are punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Subsequent offenses are classified as felonies, punishable by up to 3 years incarceration.
Six hundred randomly selected Indiana residents participated in the survey, which has a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.
The Indiana poll is the latest to show growing support for marijuana law reform among so-called 'Red State' voters. Recent statewide surveys in Arizona, Louisiana, and Texas have similarly shown majority support for legalization.
According to an October 2013 nationwide Gallup poll, 58 percent of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal, an all-time high.