Voters in Utah and Missouri will go to the polls Tuesday to decide on legalizing marijuana in their states for the first time, while ballot initiatives in Michigan and North Dakota – if successful – would increase the percentage of the U.S. population living in a state with recreational marijuana to 25%.
If passed, these legalization initiatives could eventually generate more than $2 billion in combined sales.
Here’s a pre-Election Day look at the latest polling data for marijuana measures on the 2018 ballot:
Support for Proposal 1 – the ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan – has strengthened over time, with three polls in October showing approval of the measure hovering around 60%. The latest poll by the Glengariff Group commissioned at the end of October showed that 86% of likely voters 18-29 years old support Proposal 1, though that number dropped to less than 40% for respondents older than 65. While adult-use legalization seems likely to pass in Michigan, low turnout among younger voters could tighten the results.
Polling in Missouri has been notably scarce: Only two surveys conducted in 2018 have questioned residents about their support for legalizing medical cannabis in the state. Three separate initiatives to legalize the possession and sale of medical marijuana made the ballot in Missouri, and the limited polling data as of mid-October show support for all three measures sitting comfortably above 60% – despite the high number of undecided voters. Because multiple initiatives are being considered, the measure that receives the most votes is typically adopted.
Support for Utah’s MMJ initiative – Proposition 2 – has steadily declined over the course of 2018, from a high of 77% in mid-February to a low of 51% by mid-October. While another early October poll pegged support for the initiative at 64%, it’s clear that many likely voters have been swayed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ formal opposition to the measure. But MMJ legalization will happen in Utah even if the ballot initiative fails, as a coalition of lawmakers, industry advocates and the Mormon church have agreed to adopt a similar framework in the Legislature after the election.
Wildly different results from two separate polls in October have cast a great deal of uncertainty over the fate of Measure 3, the ballot initiative in North Dakota that would legalize the possession and sale of recreational marijuana in the state. A poll from KFYR, KVLY and Strategic Associates in mid-October found that just 26% of likely voters supported the measure, while another poll from the Kitchens Group – also in mid-October – showed 51% of respondents in favor. It’s worth noting, however, that the Kitchens Group poll was commissioned by LegalizeND, the organization leading the campaign in support of Measure 3. Many industry watchers were surprised when voters in North Dakota legalized MMJ in 2016, so it’s certainly possible the adult-use measure could outperform its current polling come Election Day.
Eli McVey can be reached at [email protected]