A recent poll, executed by Quinnipiac University from March 17 to 28, found a majority support for legal cannabis in three key swing states — Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.
The survey targeted voters in these three states because, since 1960, no candidate has won the presidential election without taking at least two of these three.
When Pennsylvania voters were asked if adults should be permitted “to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” 51 percent of the 1,036 participants responded yes. Of the 1,077 people polled in Ohio, 52 percent responded yes, and 55 percent of the 1,087 asked in Florida said the same.
Voters in these three states apparently find legalizing marijuana for medicinal use to be far less controversial. Support for legal medical marijuana reached 84 percent in both Florida and Ohio, and 88 percent in Pennsylvania.
Although the poll found a majority support for legalization, the same did not transfer when asked about using the plant. In Florida, 81 percent of voters responded that they “definitely” or “probably” would not use the plant if it was legal. The vast majority, 84 percent, of Ohio voters said the same, and 83 percent of voters in Pennsylvania agreed.
If these polls are any indication, a majority support in three swing states could increase chances for legalization to be part of a platform in the 2016 presidential race. Legalization is becoming an important issue to registered voters in the United States, and where a presidential candidate stands on the issue may greatly influence his or her success.
Groups in many states are not waiting for 2016. In the Buckeye State, the group known as ResponsibleOhio is working to place a legalization measure on the 2015 ballot. The ballot language for their proposed amendment was recently approved, and now the group must focus on collecting 305,591 signatures before the July 1 deadline.
While there are no initiatives working to place a legalization amendment on the 2015 ballot in Pennsylvania, a limited medical marijuana bill was introduced by two senators during the 2015 legislative session.
The medical marijuana legalization amendment that was on the 2014 ballot in Florida, although approved by a vast majority of voters, did not reach the 60 percent support required to pass in the Sunshine State. The initiative has not stopped there however, as there is a new medical marijuana legalization measure aiming for 2016. In the meantime, one Florida senator introduced a bill to legalize marijuana for recreational use during the 2015 legislative session.