“LEGAL Colorado Marijuana Grow” by Brett Levin Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0
According to a recent survey by JMC, two-thirds of Louisians support the legalization of marijuana. The survey found that 67% of residents support marijuana legalization, up 13% from the previous year when they conducted a similar survey. 16% of respondents were only in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, 8% were in favor of legalizing recreational and medical marijuana, and 9% were undecided.
While this news may be shocking to some given Louisiana’s conservative reputation, people who have kept an eye on the state’s recent advancements in cannabis policy will not be surprised.
The state’s three largest cities, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport, have all decriminalized marijuana, fines and punishing those caught in possession of small amounts of cannabis with fines and community service rather than jail.
Louisiana has also developed its medical marijuana program that legalizes medical cannabis use in 2019 and then prescribes conditions for marijuana in 2020. Currently, any disease that a doctor deems “debilitating to an individual patient” that cannabis believes could aid treatment, can give residents a medical marijuana prescription.
There are now 9 pharmacies in the state licensed to dispense medical marijuana. Unfortunately, these pharmacies can only dispense products like tinctures and oils with THC from marijuana plants – not real marijuana.
The JMC poll responded by asking respondents whether the marijuana plant should be an acceptable type of medical marijuana in Louisiana alongside oil and tinctures. 75% of respondents were in favor of the strongest support of all survey questions, favoring medical patients who had access to actual marijuana plants, with 13% against and 12% undecided.
Another question, which received strong support, asked if respondents were more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to reform Louisiana’s marijuana laws. 65% of respondents said it was more likely, 17% said it was less likely, and 19% said it made no difference to them. Hopefully this information will inform candidates who wish to actually represent the beliefs and agendas of their constituents.
Every year new information is released about the benefits of marijuana, and more information is released about the misinformation that is widespread to continue the marijuana smear campaign launched by the catastrophic war on drugs. It has become clear that marijuana is a valuable drug that can treat various debilitating conditions. Not to mention that fighting back the opioid epidemic could be crucial.
This new information, along with the personal experiences of individuals and their friends, family members and colleagues with medicinal and recreational marijuana, has transformed public opinion about the drug and made it a widespread, bipartisan support.
The poll found that 67% of Democrats, 58% of Republicans, and 81% of respondents with other political affiliations were in favor of legalizing recreational and medical marijuana. Of the 42% of remaining Republican respondents, 24% said they legalized medical marijuana, 11% said they made both completely illegal, and 7% said they were undecided. These results mean that 82% of Louisian Republicans were in favor of at least legalizing medical marijuana.
Surprisingly, respondents over 65 were the only group that appeared to be largely against the legalization of marijuana. Only 33% of respondents over 65 were in favor of legalizing marijuana, while 93% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 supported 78% of those between the ages of 35 and 54 and 65% of people between the ages of 55 and 64 supported the legalization of marijuana. This is frustrating to see, especially considering the average age of state lawmakers in the US is 56.
However, this survey, conducted by JMC on behalf of the Louisiana Association for Therapeutic Alternatives, found that public opinion about pot continues to improve, and therefore the chances of it legalizing it in the future.
The survey was conducted March 22-23. 1,160 people registered as voters in Louisiana responded using either cell phones or landlines. The error rate was 2.9 percent.