September 10, 2015

Poll: South Carolina Voters Want Next President To Respect State Marijuana Laws

September 10, 2015
marijuana majority mayor mayors

marijuana majority mayor mayorsVoters in Three Early 2016 Primary States Want to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

New polling data reveals that voters in the early presidential primary state of South Carolina overwhelmingly support ending federal prosecutions of people acting in accordance with state marijuana laws. Among respondents, 65% agree that “states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference.” Just 16% think that “the federal government should arrest and prosecute people who are following state marijuana laws.”

The survey, commissioned by Marijuana Majority, is a follow-up to other recent polls from the organization that showed supermajority support for respecting local marijuana laws in Iowa and New Hampshire, which are also key early presidential primary states.

“Regardless of whether they personally support legalization, voters in these early primary states strongly support scaling back the war on marijuana so that local laws can be enacted without federal harassment,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “The Obama administration has made some helpful accommodations to let states start to move forward, but overarching federal prohibition laws still stand in the way of full and effective implementation. Presidential contenders in both parties would do well to make marijuana law reform a prominent issue in their campaigns, and they’d be better off doing it before other candidates realize just how much of a winning issue this is with voters.”

Across the three state polls, the new data shows majority support for letting states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference among all political persuasions and demographics, including including Republicans, 2012 Mitt Romney voters, people older than 65 and those who identify as very conservative. While support for scaling back federal prohibition is higher among Democrats than Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire, Republicans in South Carolina more strongly back states’ rights to enact marijuana laws than Democrats there do.

Voicing support for respecting state marijuana laws when pressed on the issue has started to become the default position among presidential contenders in both parties, despite the fact that no candidate has yet personally announced support for legalization. Among the major candidates in the race, only a small handful have said they’d enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have enacted legalization.See for the full results and demographic breakdowns. Infographics displaying some of the data are also available.

Previous polling has demonstrated that there is broad national support for letting states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference. For example, a Pew survey showed that 59% of Americans do not want the federal government to enforce marijuana laws in states that allow legal use, and CBS News found 58% support for the idea that marijuana laws should be set by states instead of the federal government.

The South Carolina survey, conducted September 3-6 by Public Policy Polling, includes 1,115 voters and has a margin of error of +/-2.9%.

Marijuana Majority is dedicated to helping people understand that marijuana reform is a mainstream, majority-supported issue. More information is available at


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