A majority of Wyoming residents support adult-use marijuana legalization while supermajorities approved of incremental reforms such as legalizing medical cannabis and decriminalizing possession, according to a new poll.
The survey comes courtesy of the University of Wyoming and the results mark the first time it has found majority support for the measure, with 54 percent of respondents in favor. In 2014, only 34 percent backed legalization. Two years later, 41 percent responded backed the move, while in 2018 support jumped up again to 49 percent.
As is customary in polling on marijuana legalization across the US, younger people tended to favor legalization more than seniors, and men were more supportive than women.
On the question of medical cannabis legalization, 85 percent of respondents support the move, and this majority support holds across all age groups. This is also true regarding the statement that people “convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana should not serve time in jail,” with 75 percent in agreement and majorities found in all age groups.
The latest polling results come shortly after two of Wyoming’s neighbors – South Dakota and Montana – voted to legalize adult-use marijuana through a ballot initiative at the November elections. The University of Wyoming poll, however, was carried out from October 8-29; several weeks before South Dakota and Montana voted to legalize.
“As laws regarding the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana change around the US, especially in nearby states, it’s not surprising to see attitudes in Wyoming change as well,” said Brian Harnisch, a research scientist at the university.
Marijuana legalization advocates responded to the poll results by calling for a push to legalize through the ballot, if Wyoming lawmakers don’t listen and enact voters’ wishes into law.
“This poll supports what I already suspected, that a marijuana legalization ballot initiative would be viable in Wyoming in 2022,” said Matthew Schweich, deputy director of Marijuana Policy Project, who played a big part in Montana and South Dakota’s legalization campaigns.
“I hope that legislators will seriously consider legalizing marijuana in 2021. They can control the details of the policy. If they don’t take action, then we, as marijuana advocates and drafters of the ballot initiative, would decide those details,” he added.
Rodney Wambeam, another research scientist at the University of Wyoming, said the poll results suggest that “despite the increasing dangers of marijuana use, such as addiction or drugged driving, young people in particular seem to view marijuana as a safe and natural alternative to alcohol or other illicit drugs.”
The new poll from Wyoming follows the latest national survey by Gallup, which found that support for marijuana legalization in the US is at an all time high.
The University of Wyoming survey comprised the responses of 614 Wyomingites, with an approximate margin of error of ±4.0 percentage points.