As Maryland lawmakers consider two marijuana legalization bills this session, a new poll shows that the state’s residents are on board with the policy change.
Two-thirds (67 percent) of Marylanders now back legalizing cannabis, according to the Goucher College survey published on Tuesday. Just 28 percent are opposed.
Support is strong across party lines, with 77 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of independents on board with making marijuana legal.
The poll comes days after the state Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on a legalization bill sponsored by top lawmakers, including the body’s president, majority leader and key committee chairs. That followed a House Judiciary Committee hearing on a separate cannabis proposal las month. Lawmakers are working to reconcile the differences between the two proposals in the hopes of getting something to the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who has signaled he may be open to considering the idea.
Support for legalizing cannabis in Maryland has risen since the last time Goucher asked about the issue, in 2019, when 57 percent of residents backed the idea. In 2013, just 51 percent were on board.
“The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill to legalize the use of recreational cannabis. This most recent effort comes on the heels of four states voting to legalize recreational cannabis by ballot measure this past November and, most recently, New Jersey and Virginia passing adult-use marijuana legalization laws,” Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said in a press release. “We’ve consistently found that a majority of Marylanders support the legalization of recreational cannabis, but this is the first time Republican support has reached 50 percent.”
The reform push is also gaining momentum in neighboring Virginia, where lawmakers sent Gov. Ralph Northam (D) a bill to end cannabis prohibition last month, and Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and the chairman of the District Council recently introduced competing legal marijuana bills.