New poll shows overwhelming support for medical marijuana

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A new poll shows that two thirds of Kansas voters support legalizing medical marijuana, a component of Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan for expanding Medicaid.

The survey by Republican pollster J.D. Johannes shows 66% percent of Kansans indicate they support medical marijuana with healthy backing from Democrats and Republicans.

Johannes said 42% of those surveyed said they would strongly support legalizing medical marijuana, while only 15% indicated strong opposition.

He said the results were similar to what his firm — VCreek/AMG — found when
it polled the issue in Oklahoma in 2018.

Oklahoma voters supported legalizing medical marijuana with 57% of the vote in 2018.

The poll of 507 registered voters in Kansas, done by automated calls, was done Feb. 5.

It found that about 47% of hardcore Republicans either strongly supported or somewhat supported medical marijuana.

It also found that 54% of more traditional Republicans backed medical marijuana.

Support among Democrats was much stronger, the poll showed.

Eighty-seven percent of more liberal Democrats supported legalizing medical marijuana, compared to 74% of more traditional Democrats.

Those who fall more in the middle — a purplish range — generally supported medical marijuana, with 66% in favor of legalization, the poll showed.

“Many of my conservative Republican clients in Oklahoma were stunned by support for
medical marijuana among strong Republicans,” Johannes said in a statement. “And some Kansans are likely to be surprised as well.

“If Kansas was an initiative and referendum state, medical marijuana would be on a ballot
and pass,” Johannes said.

The poll represents more good news for supporters of legalizing medical marijuana who polled on the issue two years ago.

“We are long past the question of whether this is something Kansans want, and we are now focused on the conversation of what that is going to look like,” said Spencer Duncan, managing director of the Kansas Cannabis Industry Association. “That is huge for Kansas.”

The latest poll, he said, is “great news.”

“It tells me that Kansans continue their desire to want some solid medical marijuana policy and that they haven’t wavered,” he said.

The industry association’s own poll of 511 registered voters from early 2019 showed that 70% supported legalizing medical marijuana, while 22% opposed and 8% didn’t know.

Like Johannes’ poll, the association’s survey found 85% of Democrats backed legalized marijuana, while it was supported by 56% of Republicans.

The association’s survey also found that a vote for medical marijuna wouldn’t make much of a difference at the polls.

Forty percent said they would view a legislator favorably if they supported medical marijuana, and 38% said it wouldn’t make a difference.

Duncan said his group hopes to get a hearing on medical marijuana bill in a House committee next week.

Johannes’ poll did not test support for the governor’s proposal to fund Medicaid expansion with legalizing marijuana.

The question was posed this way: “The governor of Kansas recently proposed legislation that would legalize marijuana use for adults with a doctor’s prescription.

“The legislation is similar to laws in Ohio and Missouri with strong regulations and license requirements for the medical marijuana industry.

“To what degree do you support or oppose legalizing marijuana use for adults with a doctor’s prescription?”