A new poll from YouGov and The Huffington Post shows that the majority of respondents want the federal government to leave marijuana businesses alone in states where such activities have been made legal. Some 56% say they are opposed to the feds getting involved in cannabis sales in states where they are legal, with 44% of respondents being “strongly opposed” to such efforts.
On the flip side, only 30% say they support the feds cracking down, with only 18% showing strong support.
There has been a lot of reaction to the announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month that he was opening the door for U.S. Attorneys to go after cannabis in states where it is legal, including much reaction from the U.S. Attorneys themselves.
Digging deeper into the numbers from the HuffPost/YouGov poll, we find that 47% of respondents think laws governing the use of marijuana should be decided at the state level, while 32% think such things should be decided at the federal level. Some 55% think that marijuana should be legalized nationwide and 55% also think it should be legalized in their state.
Breaking down the numbers along political party lines, we see that while a majority of Republicans think marijuana should remain illegal, 50% of GOP voters think it’s an issue best left to states compared to only 48% of Democrats and 44% of Independents. A similar pattern occurs when you look at those who are 65 years of age an older; the majority of people in that age group think that cannabis should be illegal, but 52% think it should be left to the states, a larger percentage than any other age group.
When it comes to opposing federal action against state-legal marijuana, 43% of those over 65 “strongly oppose” a crackdown, while only 40% of those aged 18 to 29 say the same. This shows that while older folks may not necessarily agree with marijuana use, they support federalism when it comes to laws concerning marijuana and tend to feel that the federal government should focus their efforts on things other than trying to thwart state law.
As I’ve stated many times before, it shouldn’t matter what polls say; if you are not infringing on the rights of anyone else, you should not be treated as a criminal. But when whether or not marijuana users are treated as criminals is still a matter of political debate, polls like this one can be very helpful in gauging how far we have come on the issue.