The voters of New Hampshire seem prepared to embrace their “Live Free or Die” motto when it comes to marijuana reform. A new Public Policy Polling survey for MPP found that a majority of voters in the state think marijuana should be legalized for adults.
Two states — Colorado and Washington — recently changed their laws to allow marijuana to be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, for legal use by adults age 21 and older. Would you support or oppose changing New Hampshire law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, where stores would be licensed to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older?
Support ………………. 53%
Oppose ………………. 37%
Not sure …………….. 10%
It should be pointed out that PPP’s final polling of Colorado and Washington State last year found their marijuana legalization initiatives at right around 53 percent support and both went on to easy wins. There is good reason to believe if New Hampshire actually allowed citizens initiatives the voters of the state would easily approve one legalizing marijuana. Unfortunately, New Hampshire is part of the roughly half the country that doesn’t allow ballot initiatives, so any reform will need to move through the state legislature.
It will probably be several more years before the legislature is ready to embrace full legalization, but there is a very good chance that state may at least move forward with approving medical marijuana in the coming months. The state almost approved medical marijuana last year, but a bipartisan bill was vetoed by then Gov. John Lynch (D). Lynch has now been replaced by Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), who has been a supporter of medical marijuana.
The same poll found that voters overwhelmingly back medical marijuana with 68 percent in support compared to just 26 percent opposed. Allowing seriously ill people to use marijuana based on a doctor’s recommendation has majority support across all age groups and party identifications. Given how completely uncontroversial medical marijuana is with the electorate, there is basically no excuse for the legislature not to move forward with modest reform this year.