More than half of North Carolinians who responded to a recent survey said that they supported the legalization of recreational marijuana in their state, according to a poll conducted by Elon University. The survey found even stronger support for reducing penalties for marijuana offenses and the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The survey found that 54% of adults in North Carolina supported the legalization of recreational marijuana, while about a third (34%) were opposed. The remaining 12% said that they didn’t know. The results showed a marked increase in support compared to 2017, when about 51% said that they were opposed to recreational marijuana legalization and 45% said they supported the move.
“Opposition to recreational marijuana legalization fell substantially over the last three years,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll and associate professor of political science. “I suspect this is due in large part to the wave of states that have passed legalization measures. Medical marijuana legalization remains broadly supported in every demographic group we examined.”
Support Varies By Age, Political Party
Support for legalizing recreational marijuana varied significantly among different age groups and by political party affiliation, with younger respondents, Democrats, and those associated with neither major party showing a greater likelihood to approve the change.
“We found a major generational gap for recreational marijuana legalization with those under 44 being about twice as likely as those 65 or older to support legalization,” Husser said. “Notably, these large generational differences do not extend to support for medical marijuana and lowering criminal penalties. Most Republicans also supported reducing penalties and legalizing medical marijuana.”
The results showed significant differences in support for adult-use marijuana legalization by political party affiliation. Only 29% of Democrats opposed legalizing recreational marijuana and 59% said that they supported the move. Republicans were more evenly split on the issue, with 43% supporting legalization and 49% opposed. Respondents who identified with neither party were more closely aligned with Democrats, with 57% in favor of legalization and 27% against.
Poll Also Finds Support For Medical Marijuana
The legalization of medical marijuana and reducing the penalties for cannabis offenses were even more popular with North Carolina residents. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents said that supported legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes while only 18% were opposed. When asked if they supported or opposed reducing penalties for marijuana offenses in North Carolina, two-thirds (67%) said that they were in favor of the move, while only 20% said that they would not support such a change.
Elon University collected the data for the poll from an online survey of 1,455 adult residents of North Carolina from Jan. 29 to 31 using an opt-in sample marketplace. The survey has a credibility interval of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The credibility interval is an accuracy measure for opt-in online surveys. More information about the credibility interval and the survey methodology are available in the full report. The survey was conducted by the Elon Poll in partnership with the Charlotte Observer, the Durham Herald-Sun, and the Raleigh News & Observer.