Registered voters in Ohio are evenly split on the issue of marijuana legalization. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 47 percent of voters think the use of marijuana should be made legal in Ohio, while 47 percent think it should remain illegal, and the remaining 6 percent undecided.
This means Ohio is only slightly less supportive of legalization than the country is as a whole. Qunnipiac’s national poll from earlier this month found 51 percent American voters think marijuana should be legal.
The good news, looking at the crosstabs of the Ohio poll, is that it is likely only matter of time before there is a clear majority for legalization in the state. There is currently a huge generational divide on legalization among Ohio voters. Those under the age of 30 overwhelming support ending marijuana prohibition, with 65 percent backing legalization and 29 percent opposed. By comparison voters over the age of 65 overwhelmingly want cannabis to remain prohibited. Only a quarter of seniors think marijuana should be made legal, while 68 percent think it should remain illegal. The simple fact is that those who oppose legalization in Ohio are dying off and they are being replaced by a young generation who strongly backs marijuana reform.
Given how quickly opinions about marijuana have changed nationally over the past two decades, it is likely that in only a few years a solid majority of voters in Ohio will back legalization. It is conceivable that as early as the 2016 election there could be an Ohio electorate willing to approve a marijuana legalization ballot initiative.
Photo by North Cascades National Park under Creative Commons License