Poll: Pennsylvania voters shift toward making pot legal – Tribune-Review
Updated 15 hours ago
More than half of Pennsylvania’s registered voters now support legalizing marijuana, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall College poll.
The poll says 56 percent of registered voters support legalizing the drug, which mirrors a nationwide increase in support, said Terry Madonna, polling director at Franklin & Marshall College.
It’s the first time that a majority of registered voters supports legalizing marijuana since the Franklin & Marshall College poll started asking the question in May 2006. Then, only 22 percent supported legalization and 77 percent opposed it.
Support has climbed since then, spiking by 16 percentage points in the past two years. In June 2015, 40 percent supported legalizing and 54 percent opposed it. The most recent poll now shows 56 percent support legalization and 37 percent oppose it.
“When you get this hike of 16 points in about two years, we’re talking about a pretty significant shift,” Madonna said.
R.J. Sokol, 60, of North Belle Vernon shifted his stance in recent years.
“A while ago, I thought they were crazy in Colorado,” he said. Colorado voters legalized marijuana retail sales for recreational use in 2012.
“I do follow the news, and I don’t see any real issues out there in states that have done this,” he said.
Sokol, a registered Democrat, said the government generates revenue from things like gasoline and alcohol for state programs, so why not marijuana.
“If people want to smoke marijuana leisurely, some of that money could go back into the community,” similar to local share grants from casinos, he said.
But for proponents of legalization in Pennsylvania, Madonna thinks “it’s a long way off.”
The poll found the highest support among independents (75 percent) and Democrats (61 percent). Fewer than half of Republicans (44 percent) support legalizing marijuana.