Supermajority Support From Democrats & Republicans in Iowa & New Hampshire
New polling data reveals that voters in early presidential primary states overwhelmingly support ending federal prosecutions of people acting in accordance with state marijuana laws. Among respondents, 71% in Iowa and 73% in New Hampshire agree that "states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference." Just 13% of Iowans and 15% of New Hampshirites think that "the federal government should arrest and prosecute people who are following state marijuana laws."
"Politicians running to become our next president should take note of just how uniformly voters in these key states want to end federal marijuana prohibition," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, which commissioned the poll. "Candidates who say they would send in the DEA to shut down legal, taxpaying marijuana businesses are effectively announcing that they're out of the mainstream and out of touch with the voters they need support from in order to get elected. That type of rhetoric is just not going to score any points in 2016."
The new data shows that support for letting states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference is especially high among Democrats and independents in both states, although there is at least 60% support across all demographics, including Republicans, 2012 Mitt Romney voters, people older than 65 and those who identify as very conservative.
See http://MarijuanaMajority.com/polls for the full results and demographic breakdowns. Infographics displaying some of the data are also available.
Angell added, "The Obama administration has made some helpful accommodations to allow state marijuana laws to be enacted, but there are still several things this president can do to get the federal government completely out of the way and give these local policies a chance to be fully implemented."
Under current federal law marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, the most restrictive category (even cocaine and methamphetamine are lower). As a consequence, research on the drug is impeded and state-legal marijuana providers must pay extra taxes that other businesses don't. And federal employees can be fired for using marijuana even while not at work and in states where it is legal. The administration has the explicit power to reclassify marijuana without further Congressional action. Advocates are also pushing President Obama to use his constitutional power to grant pardons and commutations to people incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses, and to call off ongoing prosecutions of people who were acting in accordance with state marijuana laws.
"Since marijuana reform is so hugely popular with voters, taking these actions before he leaves office would be a serious legacy booster for the president," Angell said.
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 new surveys, conducted by Public Policy Polling, include 1,500 registered voters in Iowa and 841 voters in New Hampshire. The Iowa poll, conducted August 7-9, has a margin of error of +/-2.5%. The New Hampshire poll, taken August 21-24, has a margin of error of +/-3.4%.