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Is Legalized Marijuana Coming to 3 More States?

The efforts and controversy behind medical marijuana and legalized marijuana for recreational use have been at a crossroads for some time. Several states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medical use, and now it seems that the trend looks more likely for voters to lean toward legalization in more states ahead.

A recent Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll shows that voters in the swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania now support legalization of marijuana — by margins of five too one or higher for medical marijuana, and by a majority for the legalization of recreational uses marijuana.

Less than a year ago, 24/7 Wall St. researched the legalization efforts and showed the next nine states likely to legalize marijuana. None of these three swing states were among those nine.

Quinnipiac focused on the three swing states because no presidential candidate has been elected since 1960 without winning at least two of these three states. The poll also showed candidate by candidate voter trends today. The poll does not exactly say this, but what appears more likely than not, given its breakdown of recreational versus medical use, is that these three states will get efforts underway for medical marijuana approval without definitely voting for recreational use.

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Support for medical marijuana was shown to be an average as follows:

  • 84% to 14% in Florida
  • 84% to 15% in Ohio
  • 88% to 10% in Pennsylvania

The support for legalizing having small amounts of marijuana for recreational use was above the 50% mark in each of the three states. As you might imagine, the margin is still far less wide than for medical marijuana use. What was so interesting here is that, despite favoring the legalization of recreational marijuana, most swing state voters said that they do not plan to use marijuana themselves.

We included the state by state Quinnipiac breakdown here, along with the responses for what percentage would use marijuana themselves:

  • 55% to 42% in Florida — 17% of Florida voters say they definitely or probably would use it, while 81% say they probably or definitely would not.
  • 52% to 44% in Ohio — 14% of Ohio voters say they definitely or probably would use it, while 84% say definitely or probably would not.
  • 51% to 45% in Pennsylvania — 15% of Pennsylvania voters say they are likely to try it, while 83% say they are not.

With such a large percentage of voters indicating they would definitely or probably not use recreational marijuana themselves, it seems fair to at least wonder how likely a ballot effort would be that included recreational use. Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said:

Bare majorities in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania say they support allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, and more than eight in 10 say it should be available for medical uses. But it is worth considering the lesson of Florida in 2014, when a referendum on medical marijuana fell short of the 60 percent needed for passage.

When 24/7 Wall St. sees surveys and polls, it always wants to see how they were conducted and how many respondents were involved. This poll was taken in March and was shown to have a plus-or-minus 3% margin of error of more than 1,000 voters in each state from land line and cell phone interviews — 1,087 in Florida, 1,077 in Ohio and 1,036 in Pennsylvania.

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