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Poll: public not sold on legalizing weed

By David Wildstein, February 02 2018 8:54 am

A new poll shows New Jerseyans are struggling to approve the full legalization of marijuana, a cornerstone of Gov. Phil Murphy’s first-term agenda.  A Fairleigh Dickson University poll released today shows while a majority of the state backs some changes to existing law, less than a majority back full legalization.

Given three choices, 42% want to make marijuana legal, 26% prefer to decriminalize it, and 27% say to keep it illegal.

Important number for legislators and local officials: if legalization happens, 49% support a store to sell weed in their town and 43% oppose it.

“When given choices, opinion is clearly divided. Anyone who expected legalization to happen quickly and easily might reconsider given these findings,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of the FDU Poll.

Among independents – the subset of New Jerseyans that state legislators care about most – it’s 44%-25% on legalization vs. decriminalization, with keep illegal still at 27%.   53% of Democrats want legalization and 42% of Republicans prefer to keep things the way they are.

No surprise among millennials: 65% support the legalization of weed and just 8% want to keep it illegal.  There is just a marginal difference between genders and educational levels.

And to demonstrate the fickleness of some: among New Jerseyans who intend to purchase marijuana if it becomes legal, 2% say it should remain illegal.

“One of the reasons proponents of legalized marijuana offer is increased tax revenue for the state. Although many across the state are supportive of that revenue coming from their neighborhoods, others approach the issue from a NIMBY – or not in my backyard – perspective,” said Jenkins.

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