A new poll shows that a majority of voters favor the upcoming marijuana legalization ballot in New Jersey, and that COVID-19 may have helped these efforts.
A new poll has emerged from Brach Eichler Cannabis, which questioned 501 registered New Jersey voters from Sept. 8 to Sept. 16, 2020, found that the overall support for the legalization of cannabis in New Jersey was 65%, while 29% were opposed to the efforts and 6% were unsure.
These numbers remained largely unchanged from prior polls in July and August by Brach Eichler Cannabis, suggesting that the majority support for cannabis legalization in New Jersey is consistent and unlikely to drastically change by the election in November.
Moreover, the poll shows that voter awareness about the upcoming marijuana legalization ballot is high, with 70% of respondents stating that they were aware New Jersey would be voting on marijuana in November.
"The Brach Eichler Cannabis Polls have been clear in showing the resounding support voters have for the legalization of recreational cannabis here in New Jersey," stated John D. Fanburg, a co-chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at Brach Eichler.
"Given our dedicated cannabis law practice and our deep understanding of the legal complexities of the cannabis industry, we are uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of the creation of this new marketplace."
Perhaps most interestingly, over a fifth (21%) of respondents stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had changed their stance on recreational cannabis legalization, with 13.5% saying COVID-19 has pushed them toward a pro-legalization stance. Conversely, 7.5% said COVID-19 made them less open to legalizing cannabis.
"The Brach Eichler Cannabis Poll shows that the isolation of quarantining and stress of the pandemic has changed some minds on the recreational use of cannabis," said Fanburg.
The success of the cannabis industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been well documented, with many outlets and dispensaries reporting an increase in the sales and consumption of cannabis during the pandemic.
Additionally, Charles X. Gormally, the co-chair of the Cannabis Law Practice at the firm, stated that while Republican support for marijuana legalization had risen in recent years, most respondents had not yet seen for-and-against campaigns in the state, with only a quarter of respondents having seen any marijuana-related ads.
Support for cannabis legalization was relatively bipartisan in New Jersey, with 72% of Democrats favoring legalization and 56% of Republicans. Notably, Democrat support had dropped slightly since prior polling while Republican support for legalization had risen slightly.
"Along with the growth in Republican sentiment in favor of adult use cannabis, we also see that the support is solid and consistent, but we have yet to see the impact of ad campaigns for-and-against legalization,'' Gormally stated.
"Our next poll in October should provide more insight on whether promotional ads for or against will have any impact on voter attitudes," Gormally remarked.
"With the drumbeat of the national election cycle quickening… it is likely that we will see a continuing erosion of the desire to maintain what is widely regarded as a failed policy of cannabis prohibition. This erosion will support further interest in creating an adult-use, regulated cannabis marketplace with New Jersey voters," Gormally concluded.
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