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Democrats Have ‘Better Ideas’ For Marijuana Policy Than The GOP, Poll Of Cannabis Consumers Finds



Likely U.S. voters who identify as regular marijuana consumers might come from mixed political backgrounds, but a majority believes Democrats have “better ideas” for cannabis policy, according to a new poll. Most would also be more likely to support political candidates if they endorse legalization, regardless of party, the survey found.

Also, nearly 70 percent said the presumptive presidential nominees of both major parties would have a stronger grasp of the cannabis market and culture if they were younger.

The poll from NuggMD offers fresh takeaways about the political leanings and thinking of marijuana consumers who say they are likely to vote as the November election approaches.

Among the respondents, 43 percent said they would vote for incumbent President Joe Biden, while 36 percent said they’d vote for former President Donald Trump. Another 16 percent said they’d choose a different candidate, and four percent said they would not vote for president at all.

Just one percent of respondents said that cannabis policy issues didn’t factor into their decision to participate in the upcoming election. Six percent said it was the “only” issue they cared about, compared to 47 percent who said it was one of “several” and 38 percent who said it was one of “many.”

Asked which of the two major parties—Democrats or Republicans—has “better ideas for cannabis policy,” 56 percent said Democrats had the superior platform, versus 16 percent who credited Republicans and 28 percent who said “neither” and “they are the same.”

Among supporters of Biden, 87 percent said Democrats had better ideas around cannabis, compared to two percent who said Republicans did and 11 percent who believe the parties are on par when it comes to marijuana.

Supporters of Trump were most likely to say both parties had equivalent platforms (42 percent), while 39 percent said Republicans had better ideas. Notably, nearly a fifth of Trump backers (19 percent) favored Democrats’ marijuana policy positions.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents overall agreed that elected officials should “understand the cannabis markets and culture in order to effectively legislate around it,” while four percent said it wasn’t important.

To that point, just two percent said lawmakers as a whole do hold a “strong” understanding, compared to 20 percent who said they have “some” understanding of the culture and market. Five percent said they’re somewhat knowledgable about the culture but not the market; 36 percent said they get the market but not culture. But most (37 percent) said they don’t understand the market or culture at all.

When asked about the ages of Biden and Trump, a 69 percent majority said they’d both understand cannabis policy issues better if they were younger. Eleven percent said age doesn’t matter, and 21 percent said they were unsure.

Fifty-nine percent of cannabis consuming voters said they’d be more likely to vote for a political candidate if they endorsed marijuana reform such as legalization. Seventeen percent said they’d be more likely, but only if they were Democrats, and 10 percent said yes, but only for Republicans.

Both presumptive presidential nominees do have an opportunity to take a stand on the issue in the lead-up to Election Day.

The Biden campaign has increasingly leaned into his cannabis clemency actions and scheduling review directive, with the president touting them in his State of the Union address last month and Vice President Kamala Harris separately hosting cannabis pardon recipients at the White House, where she called for legalization.

Trump has a mixed record on marijuana policy, though his rhetoric has become increasingly anti-drug, infused with stigmatizing statements about cannabis consumers. That said, he’s been generally consistent in his support for states’ rights to set their own marijuana laws. Advocates and stakeholders are hoping to get a clearer position now that legalization in on the ballot in Florida, where Trump is a resident.

Meanwhile, asked how they think both major parties want the cannabis sector to “evolve,” a plurality (40 percent) of survey respondents said “Democrats want a vibrant legal market, while Republicans want to suppress legal use.” Twenty-nine percent said both parties want to suppress cannabis use, while 21 percent said both parties “want a vibrant legal market that drives economic activity.” Another 10 percent said Republicans support the market while Democrats want to suppress legal use.

A demographic breakdown of that question shows that 67 percent of Biden voters think Democrats lead on the issue and Republicans oppose reform, while just one percent think the opposite.

Trump voters were most likely (36 percent) to say both parties are opposed to reform, followed by 26 percent who said Republicans want a legal market while Democrats want to suppress it.

Finally, the survey asked the age-old question: If public opinion strongly favors legalization, “why do you think that cannabis has not been legalized federally?” Respondents were able to select all options that they thought applied.

The top response, with 41 percent agreeing, was that the “legislative process moves slower than public opinion.” Another 39 percent suspect “interference from anti-legalization interests,” while 36 percent said lawmakers simply “don’t care what voters want.”

“This poll shows that adopting pro-cannabis policies can move more constituents into either party’s camp,” Deb Tharp, head of legal and policy research at NuggMD said in a press release. “This is a large voting population we’re talking about, and its demographics are changing quickly.”

“Respondents say they’re motivated by policy commitments and wins, not by grievance politics, outrage, or red meat,” she said. “The degree to which this emerging constituency is moveable, and how to move them, will probably come as a surprise to insiders of both parties.”

“To me, it signals that Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot by continuing to embrace the platform of prohibition,” Tharp added. “Democrats should double down on cannabis and expand their voting base by embracing full decriminalization and expungement for victims of targeted, unjust enforcement.”

The survey from NuggMD—a cannabis technology company that links people to doctors via telemedicine for medical cannabis recommendation—involved interviews with 755 cannabis consumers who are likely to vote from March 25 to April 3, with a +/-4 percentage point margin of error. Voters in six swing states were intentionally over-indexed.

NuggMD also released a survey in January that found about one-third of marijuana consumers say they would go back to the illicit market if cannabis was rescheduled and only made legally available as a Food and Drug Administration- (FDA) approved prescription drug.

Another poll released that month found that Biden stands to make significant political gains if marijuana is rescheduled under his administrative directive.

Schumer And Democratic Senators Seek Support For Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill Ahead Of 4/20, With Plans To File This Month

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