Chart of the Week: Support for medical cannabis legalization in key states

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By Marijuana Business Daily staff

Note: This is the first of two charts examining polling numbers in key states that could legalize medical or recreational marijuana in 2016. Today’s chart focuses on medical cannabis states – check back next Monday for a look at support levels in recreational battlegrounds.  

If the latest polls are any indication, the cannabis industry will be celebrating the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida and Ohio this November.

In Florida, where United for Care is taking its second stab at legalizing MMJ, a Public Policy Polling survey last month found that 65% of voters support the initiative, which has already qualified for the ballot.

The measure needs to hit the 60% threshold to pass, so the odds look good at this point.

In Ohio, where the Marijuana Policy Project will in all likelihood get an MMJ measure on the November ballot, the same polling organization found that 74% of voters back amending the state constitution to guarantee access to medical cannabis for those with “terminal or debilitating medical conditions.”

That’s well above the 50% mark the measure will need to become law should it get on the November ballot.

Of course, anything can happen between now and the election, and the numbers will likely fluctuate in the coming months.

Additionally, despite strong support levels in each state, the figures are actually lower than the roughly 80% of Americans nationwide who said in a poll taken last year that they are in favor of legalizing medical cannabis.

Having said that, the national poll was taken by a different group at a different time, and it’s clear that a wide majority of voters in both Florida and Ohio support medical cannabis legalization.

Pennsylvania is another state that was a top candidate to legalize medical cannabis through the legislature this year. With good reason: A whopping 90% of voters in the state support MMJ legalization, according to a poll last October by Quinnipiac University.

Lawmakers apparently listened, passing a medical marijuana legalization bill last week that the state’s governor signed on Sunday.

The strong polling numbers nationally and in several key states indicate that MMJ is becoming an unstoppable political force.

Politicians, who live and breathe polling numbers, are far from ignorant of the upward trend across the country when it comes to the growing acceptance of marijuana used for medical purposes.

The plant is much more popular than the vast majority of public officials, and politicos who ignore what’s popular don’t usually last long in office.