An Elon University poll found 54% of North Carolina residents support cannabis legalization for adult use, with 34% opposed and 12% unsure. Another 73% of respondents supported medical cannabis legalization in the state, with 18% opposed.
The last time Elon asked the question was in 2017, which found 45% supported broad legalization with 51% opposed. Support for medical cannabis in the January 2020 survey actually declined from the 2017 survey when it was backed by 80% of respondents with 17% opposed.
Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll and associate professor of political science, said he suspected opposition against legalization fell “due in large part to the wave of states that have passed legalization measures.”
The poll also found 67% of North Carolinians supported decriminalizing cannabis – making possession a civil instead of criminal infraction – with 20% opposed and 13% unsure. Another 64% said legalization would help the state’s economy (16% said the opposite, with 21% unsure), 45% said crime would decrease if cannabis were legalized (24% said it would increase, 31% didn’t know), and 36% of those polled said legalization would lead to an increase in traffic accidents (17% said they would decrease and 48% said they weren’t sure).
“We found a major generational gap for recreational marijuana legalization with those under 44 being about twice as likely as those 65 or older to support legalization. Notably, these large generational differences do not extend to support for medical marijuana and lowering criminal penalties. Most Republicans also supported reducing penalties and legalizing medical marijuana.” – Husser in a press release
Another strong majority – 63% – said that using cannabis is not morally wrong, while 22% disagreed and 15% said they didn’t know; 53% said cannabis was not a gateway drug, with 27% believing it does lead to harder drugs, and 20% unsure.
Fifty-nine percent of Democrats supported legalization (29% opposed), along with 43% of Republicans (49% opposed).
The poll was conducted from January 29-31 and included 1,455 residents of the Tar Heel State.
A Gallup poll found 68% of Americans support the reforms, the highest level ever recorded by the pollster.
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