A new survey released by Public Policy Polling has found that the majority of Rhode Island voters are in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis, and taxing and regulating sales.
Conducted January 14-15, the poll posed the question, “In 2012, two states — Colorado and Washington — changed their laws to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, for legal use by adults age 21 and older. Would you support or oppose changing Rhode Island law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, so stores would be licensed to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older?”
53% of respondents replied that they would support legalization in R.I., and just 41% replied they would be opposed (6% were unsure). Of respondents ages 18-34, 75% were in support of legalization, and those ages 35-49 responded in favor by 60%.
The survey also posed the question, “Which do you believe is safer: marijuana or alcohol, or do you think they are equally safe?” 38% of respondents replied that cannabis is safer; 21% said alcohol was safer; 21% replied that they were equally safe, and 20% were unsure which is safer.
In addition, participants were asked their views on the state’s medical cannabis laws: “Under current Rhode Island state law, it is legal for people who have cancer, AIDS, and other serious illnesses to use, purchase, and grow marijuana for medical purposes, as long as their physicians approve. Overall, do you support or oppose this law?” A vast majority (77%) said they were in support of the law, with only 17% saying they oppose it.
Upon examining responses based on age, race, gender and political party, the poll revealed that respondents across the board all felt cannabis is safer than alcohol, with the exception being those over 65, who were very unsure. Participants from every category responded overwhelmingly in favor of medical cannabis being legal in the state.