People overwhelmingly want marijuana to be legal in the Garden State, a new poll finds.
New Jersey voters support ending cannabis prohibition by a margin of 59 percent to 37 percent in Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday.
The poll also found that voters tend to think alcohol is more harmful than cannabis.
Only 10 percent said marijuana is the more dangerous substance, while 39 percent said it is less harmful than alcohol. Another 48 percent said the two are equally dangerous.
On the question of legalization, the survey found majority support among every demographic except for Republicans and people over 65 years of age.
The survey was released on the same day that Gov. Phil Murphy, who campaigned on legalization, released a budget proposal that relies on cannabis tax revenue to fund the state’s programs.
“Decriminalization alone will not put the corner dealer out of business, it will not help us protect our kids, and it will not end the racial disparities we see,”Murphy said in a budget speech. “If these are our goals – as they must be – then the only sensible option is the careful legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana sales to adults.”
Some Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey have express skepticism about legalization, preferring a simple removal of criminal penalties for possessing cannabis instead.
But the new poll may cause some of them to rethink the issue: 69 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents are on board with legalizing marijuana. Among people aged 18 to 34, support is at 79 percent.
The governor is aiming to implement legalization by January 1 of next year.
The new Quinnipiac poll also indicated that legalization likely wouldn’t lead to a huge increase in marijuana use, with just nine percent saying they would definitely try cannabis after the end of prohibition and another 13 percent saying they would probably try it.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted his support for legalizing marijuana in his home state.
Thank you governor. Marijuana prohibition in NJ is bias against low income communities and communities of color.
Prohibition has devastated lives and families. Economically harmed communities and wasted so many tax dollars.
I applaud your leadership and support your efforts. https://t.co/agYfsgQUHl
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) March 14, 2018
Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.