Guest Column: Tide turning rapidly in Pa. in support for legalizing pot – The Delaware County Daily Times
Medical marijuana laws have been enacted in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and 21 states have decriminalized marijuana in a variety of ways. Unthinkable even a decade ago, eight states and the District have made legal the use of recreational marijuana.
In a June 2015 Franklin & Marshall College Pennsylvania Poll, almost 90 percent of state voters supported medicinal marijuana. Given that huge level of support, it was no shock that the state Legislature approved a bill legalizing it in the state. It had been pushed strongly and at times emotionally by the advocates. And so last April, with considerable fanfare, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the legislation into law.
But now, perhaps not surprising at all, majority support (56 percent) emerges for the legalization of pot in the just released F&M poll of state voters. That’s the first time since 2006, when the question was initially asked in the poll, a majority indicated support.
The increase in adherents has been truly spectacular. Back in 2006 when the question was first asked, only 22 percent of state voters favored legalization. Politically speaking, 32 percent of Democrats were in favor in 2006, but that percentage has spiked to 61 percent. The increase among Republicans has been even more dramatic. Only 12 percent of Republicans indicated support in 2006, increasing now to 44 percent.
There also has been a significant increase in all demographic groups as well, and several stand out: self-identified liberals lead the way with 78 percent responding they would legalize it, followed by the 18-34 year-old millennials at 76 percent, and never-married, single voters, at 74 percent.
Proponents argue, often using Colorado as an example, that major dollars can be garnered from legalization. Given the revenues that would follow from taxing the product and the money saved