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Majority in Maryland Backs Legalization Weeks Before Vote

A new poll suggests that recreational marijuana legalization is on track to be approved by Maryland voters in the coming weeks.

According to a Washington Post-University of Maryland survey, 73% of Maryland voters support legalizing cannabis for adult 21+. Only 23% were against. 4 percent said that they did not have an opinion.

Supporters of Question 4 see the findings as encouraging. Question 4 would legalize adult-use cannabis in Maryland from July 1, 2023. It also establishes a state-regulated cannabis market.

Maryland is just one of many states that will vote on recreational marijuana measures in November. The other states are Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota.

According to a Washington Post-University of Maryland survey, Maryland appears highly likely join 19 other states which have legalized adult recreational marijuana use.

“The thing that stood out to me is the high level of support and the diversity of support. Whether you look across party, region, almost every characteristic, you see majorities supporting this,” said Michael Hanmer, the director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Democracy and Civic Engagement, as quoted by The Washington Post. “That’s been the trend across the country. People have really shifted their views across time on this issue, all pointing in the direction of being more supportive.”

The Washington Post noted that the poll showed the measure to be “especially popular among young voters, with 87 percent of voters under 40 favoring legalization.”

“By far those most enthusiastic about legalization are young voters. Almost 9 in 10 voters under age 40 said they support legalizing cannabis, compared with roughly 7 in 10 of those ages 40 to 64 and just over half of those 65 and older,” the Post reported.

Moreover, the survey found that “77 percent of Black voters and 70 percent of White voters favor the proposal,” which also boasts “strong support from wide majorities of independents (81 percent) and registered Democrats (78 percent), along with a narrow majority of registered Republicans (53 percent).”

Maryland lawmakers passed earlier in the year legislation to allow for a referendum on legalizing marijuana.

Question 4 has been heavily supported by Trulieve Cannabis, which operates several Maryland medical marijuana dispensaries.

The chairman of the “Yes on 4” campaign is Eugene Monroe, a former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and a marijuana advocate.

“Legalizing cannabis would stimulate Maryland’s economy and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, while allowing Maryland residents to benefit from vital investments in education, public health, and public safety funded by cannabis taxes,” Monroe said last month, as the Question 4 campaign officially kicked off.

The “Yes on 4” campaign is bullish on what recreational marijuana could mean for Maryland’s economy.

“Marijuana legalization is projected to provide the state with over $135 million in tax revenue. The figure includes revenue for cities and counties, but not the thousands of dollars Maryland invests every year to enforce marijuana possession laws. Maryland Question 4 will allow local law enforcements to concentrate their limited resources on fighting violent crime. Of the ten counties in the United States with the highest rates of marijuana possession arrests, Maryland is home to three of them,” the campaign says on its website.

This week’s Washington Post-University of Maryland is not the first survey to suggest that Maryland voters are ready to end prohibition on pot.

In March, Goucher College released a poll that found 62% support recreational cannabis legalization in Maryland. Only 34% said otherwise.

This poll showed bipartisan support with 65% of Democrats, 54% of Republicans saying that they supported legalization.