Marijuana legalization is no longer a partisan issue
The vast majority of U.S. voters support making marijuana legal and think the federal government should respect state marijuana laws, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday morning.
Ninety-three percent of Americans support medical marijuana use and 59 percent support legalizing recreational marijuana, according to the poll.
Five out of seven Americans - including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and all age groups - are opposed to the government enforcing federal prohibition laws in states where marijuana is legal for medical or adult use.
"Americans of all ages and political persuasions can agree that the federal government has no business interfering in state marijuana laws. People do not want federal prohibition laws to be enforced in states that have rejected them."
The nationwide survey included 1,323 voters and the results reflected trends similar to those indicated in national polls released by Gallup and the Pew Research Center in October. The Gallup and Pew polls found support for ending marijuana prohibition at 60% and 57%, respectively.
"Americans of all ages and political persuasions can agree that the federal government has no business interfering in state marijuana laws. People do not want federal prohibition laws to be enforced in states that have rejected them," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. "There appears to be near universal support for allowing the use of medical marijuana, and the majority in favor of broader reform is growing quickly. Our country might be divided on some issues, but more and more it is looking like marijuana policy is not one of them."
Some investors in the marijuana industry have been concerned about where President Donald Trump's administration will stand on marijuana. The new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has expressed in the past that he considered marijuana a dangerous drug, though no efforts have been made as of yet to rescind the existing Cole Memorandum.
The Cole Memorandum establishes an agreement between the Federal government and states that if state law is followed within the industry, federal officials will not pursue violations of federal law that prohibit all uses of marijuana, still considered a Schedule I drug.
"President Trump said throughout his campaign that he supported states' rights to determine their own marijuana policies. We are hopeful that he will maintain that position, which is clearly in line with the majority of Americans," Tvert said. "It appears the administration would face strong criticism from both sides of the aisle and most people in between if it attempted to interfere in states' marijuana laws."
This story originally appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal on Feb. 23, 2017