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Legalization More Popular Than Biden in Maryland

According to new polls, a higher proportion of Marylanders support legalizing marijuana than approve of the performance of President Joe Biden’s job. 

These findings from the Goucher College Poll could provide valuable insight into both national and local politics. A legalization referendum in Maryland may be on the November ballot. The White House has been reluctant to support a policy with broad support among its Democratic base.

According to the poll, 62% of Maryland voters support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Only 34% said otherwise. 

According to advocates, the party breakdown in these findings shows that support for legalization is bipartisan. Sixty five percent of Democrats, and 54% of independents said that they support legalization. Maryland Republicans were at 54 percent. 

Lawmakers in Maryland have taken up legislation that would send a proposal to legalize recreational pot for adults aged 21 and older to the state’s ballot this year. Last month, the Democratic-controlled state House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed a bill to bring the measure before voters in November. The state Senate is currently considering it. 

It Baltimore Sun reported last month that the state’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, “has not taken a position on legalizing recreational marijuana.” Hogan has previously “said he would prefer a referendum to legislators acting directly, but wouldn’t say how he would vote on the issue,” according to the newspaper. But, no concrete action has been taken. 

Biden, who hasn’t been any more eager to embrace legalization, finds himself in middling territory among Maryland voters, according to the Goucher College Poll.

48% of those surveyed said they were satisfied with the work Biden does as president. Only 48% disagree. Last year, the poll found that 62 percent of Maryland voters approved of Biden’s job performance. 

Biden won by more than 30 percent over Donald Trump 2020. The state went to the Democrats every Presidential election except 1988.

Taken together, the poll’s findings may point to a political lifeline for an embattled president and the Democratic party as it approaches what figures to be a difficult midterm election this year. Recent polling shows a wide enthusiasm gap between Republican and Democratic voters.

Biden, along with congressional Democrats, came to power during a period of optimism for marijuana reform advocates. 

Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority leader, said his party was prepared to achieve the goal of abolishing prohibition at the federal level.

“We will move forward,” Schumer told Politico last April. “[Biden] said he’s studying the issue, so [I]He will appreciate a bit of time for it to be read. As many advocates, I will also present my points to him. But at some point, we’re going to move forward, period.”

“In 2018, I was the first member of the Democratic leadership to come out in support of ending the federal prohibition. I’m sure you ask, ‘Well what changed?’ Well, my thinking evolved. When a few of the early states—Oregon and Colorado—wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up. It would also increase drug abuse. Everything bad would happen,” the New York Democrat added. “The legalization of states worked out remarkably well. These were huge successes. People were allowed more freedom and the parade of evils was never held. And people in those states seem very happy.”