A new poll from the Washington Post and the University of Maryland found supermajority support among Maryland voters for adult-use cannabis reforms. The poll found that 74% of voters said they plan to back the reforms at the ballot box in November, with 23% opposed and 4% unsure.
A Goucher College poll conducted last month found 59% support for the reforms, with 34% opposed and 7% undecided.
The legalization question is set for a statewide voter after state lawmakers passed House Bill 1 in April, which created the Constitutional Amendment that voters will consider. If approved, the amendment would legalize adult-use cannabis starting July 1, 2023, with a transitional period from January 1 to July 1 where possession of up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis would be considered a fineable offense.
Lawmakers also approved companion legislation which would begin implementing the program following the measure’s passage. That bill also includes automatic expungement of any previous simple cannabis possession charges, resentencing for anyone currently held in a jail or state prison on a cannabis-related conviction, and would establish a study to investigate potential public health concerns including patterns of use and impaired driving. The bill also contains social equity provisions.
The question posed by the Washington Post/University of Maryland poll mirrored the question that will appear on November ballots in Maryland: “Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the state of Maryland?”
The poll found that 87% of voters under 40 years old backed the reforms.
Michael Hanmer, the director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement, which co-sponsored the poll, told the Post that what stood out to him was “the high level of support and the diversity of support.”
“Whether you look across party, region, almost every characteristic, you see majorities supporting this,” he said. “That’s been the trend across the country. People have really shifted their views across time on this issue, all pointing in the direction of being more supportive.”
If Maryland voters approve the question, the state will be the 20th to legalize cannabis for adults.
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