Marijuana legalization is sweeping across the USA and every day more polls, surveys and headlines emerge which appear to be in support of marijuana legalization. But there is a huge distinction in terms of both medical and recreational marijuana. While the majority of residents are in support of medical marijuana, it is not quite the same when compared to recreational marijuana. One is viewed as a vital means of support for those suffering from chronic diseases. This has been backed up with much evidence as new research emerges almost daily. The other can be viewed as a drug that does not serve any purpose and might bring about more problems than it solves. For this reason,a number of states have said no to recreational marijuana, though some may consider revisiting in future.
It can also be something of an administrative nightmare. Legalization is happening very quickly and there are differing rules and requirements in relation to each. This has recently led Canada to stall the introduction of cannabis edibles on the grounds that the regulations and the general infrastructure would simply not be there to support it when the time came.
Recreational Marijuana in New Jersey
A new poll out of the Garden State shows quite the dichotomy when it comes to legalizing marijuana. The Quinnipiac University Poll, which surveyed 1,121 registered voters during the stretch of September 7-12, found that while the majority (59-30) was in favor of allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. According to the Poll,” 55 percent of voters say they would “definitely not try” marijuana if it were legal. Nine percent say they would “definitely try” it and 12 percent say they would “probably try it.” The poll also stated that “Every listed group supports legalized marijuana, except Republicans, who are opposed 53 – 43 percent, and voters over 65 years old, who are divided, with 47 percent in favor and 50 percent opposed. It should be borne in mind that this was mainly a telephone poll which have historically not been very robust, with few in person candidates.
Republicans were the only group from the poll that did not support marijuana usage, with 53 percent of voters in opposition. 12% maintained that marijuana poses more of a danger than alcohol while 38 % believe it is not as dangerous as alcohol and 46 percent of voters reported believing that both were just as dangerous.Democrats in the New Jersey have already introduced a bill that would make the state the ninth in the nation to legalize small amounts of marijuana to sell to those 21 or older. These findings are in line with other studies conducted across the USA, with large overall support for recreational marijuana legalization among democrat supporters and slightly opposition among Republicans. However, overall the public are in favor of recreational legalization, but it has to be done on a state by state basis.
In addition to supporting marijuana, a vast majority of New Jersey voters are also in full support of raising the minimum wage and requiring background checks for gun owners. 74% would like to see the hourly minimum wage rise to $8.44 while 32% preferred to see the rate raised to $15 per hour. 9% believed that no increase is necessary. 96% of New Jersey voters are supportive of a required background check for gun owners, though 63 % of voters think that the state wouldn’t be as safe if more people possessed guns.
No Real Surprise
It does not come as much of a surprise that the majority of New Jersey residents are in favor of recreational marijuana. The truth is that the majority of US residents are. What is surprising is that only 38% of people believe it is not as dangerous as alcohol. Within 10 years it is likely that the majority of US states will have legalized recreational marijuana. However, it is very important that marijuana is implemented and integrated into US society correctly. We do not want a situation where all sales and distribution of marijuana are taken over by the state, as has recently happened in Ontario. On the other hand, we do not want to see marijuana implemented the way it has been in Pennsylvania, with the growth and distribution of marijuana left in the hands of a select few corporations. Getting the balance between providing quality marijuana without reducing individual liberties or crushing the free market is very difficult, but also very important. It is worth taking the time to get this balance right even if legalization is delayed somewhat. Rushing into it could have disastrous consequences, and regions such as Ontario and Pennsylvania have draconian marijuana policies which will only hurt them in the long term.