Cannabis isn’t often touted as a bipartisan issue. However, a recent poll found that the majority of conservative voters (68%) are in favor of federal legalization. Furthermore, this same study revealed that 70% of GOP voters agreed that cannabis issues should be left up to the state.
This poll, conducted by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation (CPEAR), saw a 10% increase in support from the previous (2022) poll, not to mention a decrease in opposition, with only 29% of GOP voters opposing legalization (14% strongly oppose).
While this may be a surprise to some, it certainly wasn’t to Republican members of Congress. According to Republican Ohio Congressman David Joyce:
“The polling is clear: federal cannabis prohibition is in direct contradiction to the overwhelming will of the American electorate, including a notable majority of conservative voters. I hope more of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will heed the call of their constituents and join me in working towards a safe and effectively regulated legal marketplace that respects the rights of the over 40 states that have enacted some varying degree of legality. Continued inaction is no longer tenable.”
In terms of specifics, this poll found the following statistics concerning the favor of cannabis being a state issue:
- 77% of Republican voters aged 21 – 44
- 66% of Republican voters aged 45+
- 73% of men
- 68% of women
- 66% college-educated
Still, most GOP voters agreed that cannabis is not a top priority when it comes to voting for a particular candidate. 90% said that their biggest concern was inflation, with only 34% claiming that adult-use cannabis was important for their vote. This rating came second to last (just above issues on climate change).
If Republicans Support Legalization, What Does This Mean for GOP Leaders?
If this poll is any indication of how most Republican voters feel, then cannabis legality can now be considered a bipartisan issue. One of which likely has some of the highest support in the country, with a Pew Research poll claiming almost 90% of Americans agree cannabis should be either medically or recreationally legalized.
Unfortunately, half the country still does not have access to legal marijuana. On top of this, cannabis is still criminalized in many parts of the country, resulting in heavy fines and even incarceration for mere possession.
Back in October, President Joe Biden made a statement on marijuana reform—claiming his team was working on federal decriminalization. Naturally, this was likely a response to the overwhelming support for legalization. However, we have yet to hear anything about this reform.
While this reform isn’t the exact measure most advocates are looking for, it would at least prevent people from continuing to experience prosecution for cannabis. This is an ideal situation while some states continue to work on bills and initiatives for legalization.
Still, we have our doubts the Biden administration will take the proper steps for federal decriminalization. And if this proves to be true, we guarantee cannabis will be a hot topic in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
With so many Republicans now in support of legalization, we also wouldn’t be surprised if previously opposing lawmakers suddenly change their stance.