Pandemic Increases Support for Weed Legalization Among New Jersey Voters, Survey Finds
Garden State residents will vote on legalizing cannabis in November, and 21 percent of former weed naysayers say COVID has changed their mind on the matter — for the better.
Published on September 29, 2020
After suffering through multiple terms of Republican Gov. Chris Christie, a lying sack of weed-hate and repulsive Trump suck-up, New Jersey elected pro-pot Governor Phil Murphy in 2018, a Democrat who recently stated that legalizing weed would be “incredibly smart.”
New Jersey residents are set to vote in November on Public Question 1, an initiative that will fully legalize ganja in the Garden State if approved. A poll conducted after the measure was announced found that 68 percent of respondents said they planned to vote in favor of the change.
Now, a new survey conducted by Brach Eichler’s Cannabis Law Practice indicates that overall support for legal weed stands at about 65 percent. But, the results show that the coronavirus pandemic has inspired many participants who initially thought they’d vote against Public Question 1 to change their minds.
When asked about the pandemic, 79 percent of respondents said it had not shifted their position on cannabis, but 21 percent said it had. Of the latter, 13.5 percent said they switched to now support legalization — and most of those identified themselves as Republicans or conservatives.
The poll also found that support for legal weed in New Jersey crossed party lines to create a bipartisan majority. 72 percent of Democrats said they presently support legalization, followed by 65 percent of Independents and 56 percent of Republicans.
“I was somewhat surprised that [the pandemic] did influence that many people,” Charles Gormally, co-chair of the firm’s Cannabis Law Practice, told NJ.com. “I really think the reason it influenced people is a natural derivative of beginning to accept the concept that cannabis isn’t harmful, and may in fact have a positive impact in many circumstances.”
Ignoring their constituents’ loud and clear mandate, the Republican-led New Jersey Senate killed a legalization bill last year, which ultimately led to the question landing on this November’s ballot.
New Jersey’s pro-marijuana momentum has been building into an undeniable force, though. Medical weed is legal, and Gov. Murphy has called for huge expansions to the program. In addition, New Jersey police officers no longer train drug dogs to sniff out pot. All that’s left is to vote “yes” on Public Question 1.
Mike McPadden is the author of “Heavy Metal Movies” and the upcoming “Last American Virgins.” He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo
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