By Phillip Smith
The latest evidence that marijuana legalization has reached the tipping point comes from Maryland, where a newGoucher Poll has a slim majority for legalization, as well as strong support for decriminalization and overwhelming support for medical marijuana.
The poll found that 51% supported marijuana legalization, while 90% supported medical marijuana if prescribed by a doctor.
The poll also asked whether marijuana possessors should be jailed, subjected to drug treatment, or fined. A near majority (49%) supported fines (or decriminalization), while 34% supported drug treatment, and only 6% supported jailing pot people.
"When it comes to marijuana use in the state, a slight majority of Marylanders support legalization for small amounts, and a large majority support the drug's use for medicinal purposes," said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. "Citizens of the state also seem to support the decriminalization of marijuana, favoring policies that focus on rehabilitation and fines, rather than jail time for possession. This will be an issue to watch for the upcoming legislative session."
This year, the legislature approved a bill that authorized academic medical centers to distribute medical marijuana, but a decriminalization bill died in the House after passing the Senate.
The poll was conducted using both cell phones and land lines, with pollsters contacting 655 Maryland residents in late October. The margin of error is +/- 3.8%.