Support for cannabis reform has surged in the last 10 years according to various polls. It’s tough to say whether the polls are accurately reflecting a change in opinion among voters around the globe, or if people are just simply confident enough to now admit that they support cannabis reform and have for a very long time.
Regardless, the end result is that support for cannabis reform is at an all-time high, especially in the United States. A record 66% of respondents in Gallup’s annual cannabis legalization poll expressed support for legalization last year. The results for this year’s poll should be out any day, and it’s a safe bet that support for legalization has either remained consistent or increased.
A number of states will be voting on cannabis legalization in November in the United States, including South Dakota. South Dakota will be the first state in U.S. history to place medical legalization and adult-use legalization initiatives on the same ballot for voters to decide.
Cannabis opponents conducted their own poll recently to gauge voter interest in both of the South Dakota measures, and unfortunately for opponents (but fortunately for supporters!) the results were presumably not what opponents were hoping for, as reported by Marijuana Moment:
There’s strong support for each of the measures in the new prohibitionist-funded survey, which was conducted June 27-30 and announced in a press release on Thursday. Roughly sixty percent of South Dakota voters said they favor recreational legalization, while more than 70 percent said they back medical cannabis legalization, according to the No Way on A Committee, which didn’t publish detailed cross-tabs, or even specific basic top-line numbers, from the poll results.
The decision by the prohibitionist committee to release the results of a poll showing such broad support for legalization is an interesting one. Typically, ballot campaigns and candidates use polling results to demonstrate momentum, but perhaps the South Dakota group is seeking to sound the alarm and generate donations from national legalization opponents to help stop the measure. If South Dakota votes to legalize cannabis this November, that would signal that the policy can pass almost anywhere.
Neither cannabis reform measure in South Dakota is earth shattering so to speak. They are both sensible measures that have policy components that are already in place in other states.
Just as there are no significant issues regarding the policy changes in other states that have legalized cannabis for medical and/or adult use, the same will prove to be true in South Dakota. Hopefully the poll results prove to be accurate and South Dakota gets on the right side of history in November.