The general election next week may turn out to be a very mixed bag for cannabis legalization advocates, based on polling numbers in the five states that have the issue on the ballot.
States considering legalization via ballot questions include Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota. While history has shown that the vast majority of such ballot measures have succeeded, this year may buck such political trends.
The latest polling out of Arkansas shows a tightening race from earlier this year.
In September, support for Issue 4 – the recreational cannabis legalization question – was at almost 60%, but as of late October, that had plummeted to just over 50%, according to a survey by Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.
That study found that, as of Oct. 17-18, roughly 50.5% of Arkansas voters were supportive of Issue 4, while 43% were opposed and 6.5% were undecided.
In Maryland, the trend has gone the opposite direction, with polling finding either a steady increase or at least stable support for Question 4, the cannabis legalization initiative.
According to a poll last month by The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore, a solid 63% of voters will be casting a yes vote for legal cannabis, while just 25% are opposed and 12% undecided. That’s up from another September poll that found support at 59%.
A different survey by The Washington Post that same month reported 73% support for the measure.
According to a poll by Emerson College and The Hill conducted in late October, just 48% of voters support cannabis legalization, while 35% oppose the measure, and another 17% are undecided.
In September, another survey conducted by Remington Research Group and the Missouri Scout Newsletter found voter support for the amendment at just 43%, with 47% opposed and 10% undecided.
But another September poll, by SurveyUSA, found 62% of voters backing the initiative, with only 22% opposed and 16% undecided.
Polling has been almost nonexistent during the campaign for Statutory Measure 2, the cannabis legalization measure in North Dakota. But the little that has been done signals an uphill battle for marijuana advocates.
According to a survey by The Dickinson Press in September, only 39% expressed support, while 18% reported not caring. The largest group, at 43%, was opposed.
Though South Dakota voters approved a recreational marijuana ballot measure in 2020 with 54% support, that victory was thrown out by the courts, and a second shot at cannabis legalization appears to be having a tougher time than its predecessor.
This year, backers returned with Initiated Measure 27 to legalize personal adult use possession and cultivation, but it falls short of creating a regulated industry.
According to an Emerson College poll conducted in late October, just 40% of voters support the measure, while 51% are opposed, and 10% are undecided.