Marijuana Legalization Polls 2016: At Least Three States Likely To Approve Legal Pot As Nationwide Support Reaches All-Time High

Nathan Francis - Author

Oct. 29 2016, Updated 6:11 p.m. ET

The 2016 marijuana legalization polls are pointing to what could be a historic Election Day, with at least three states likely to approve efforts to legalize pot and national support ticking toward its highest mark ever.

There are resolutions up for a vote in nine states to legalize marijuana in some form. In four of those states, voters will cast their ballots on whether to legalize medical marijuana — Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana. The efforts go a step further in five states that will vote on allowing recreational marijuana — California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.

So far, the marijuana legalization polls in 2016 point to what could be a historic year. All states are pointing toward at least a close vote, and passage seems likely in a handful.

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In California, the nation’s most populous state, the pot-legalization Prop. 64 is largely expected to pass, the Mercury News noted.

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“Most polls suggests Prop. 64 will succeed, if perhaps by a slight margin. Surveys in recent weeks show the proposition enjoys solid support, anywhere from a just-barely-respectable 51 percent to an impressive over-the-top win with 71 percent of voters backing the legalization of pot starting on Nov. 9.”

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There could be good signs for all the marijuana legalization votes on Election Day. While polls may show some mixed results in individual states, as a whole Americans are becoming more and more accepting of the idea of legal pot. As Reason noted, the support for legalized marijuana nationwide reached 63 percent in a recent American Values Survey, up from 44 percent last year. That comes after a Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans supported legalized marijuana and the Pew Research Center found 57 percent support — both all-time highs for those pollsters.

The polling for 2016 shows that there is a chance all states up for recreational marijuana may pass the measures. As Reason noted, polls in Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all topped 50 percent. Arizona is just a shade below 50 percent.

Florida is showing high support for its medical marijuana bill as well, the report added.

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Not every poll for marijuana legalization points toward passage. Reason noted that polls in Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota to legalize medical marijuana are hovering below 50 percent.

But even if the marijuana legalization efforts fail in some states this Election Day, the victories combined with increasing public acceptance could create what Washington Post writer Christopher Ingraham called a tipping point that would lead to a wave of states moving to legalize pot.

“Still, with three national surveys this year showing 60 percent or greater support for legalization, it seems that public attitudes have reached some sort of tipping point,” he wrote. “From a governing standpoint, it may become increasingly difficult for policymakers to maintain a strict prohibition that nearly two-thirds of citizens oppose.”

The efforts have also expanded to states that likely wouldn’t have entertained such efforts just a decade ago. When Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, it was not a surprise to many to see left-leaning states take up the banner of legal pot. But now those resolutions are on the ballot in states with more conservative voters, with Florida aiming to be the first southern state to legalize marijuana.

And the polls show that support for marijuana legalization efforts cuts across the political spectrum. In Florida, for example, the resolution to approve medical marijuana receives high support both from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supporters, a sign that these efforts may become easier to pass in the future. And wins in a number of the states voting on legalized marijuana in November could also help build more momentum for other states to join the efforts.

[Featured Image by Dave Warden/Getty Images]


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