Durham, NH: Three out of five adults in New Hampshire endorse legalizing marijuana, according to statewide polling data released last week by the University of New Hampshire. The support level is the highest ever reported by UNH pollsters.
Sixty percent of respondents said that they "support legalizing marijuana for recreational use" - up from 48 percent in 2013. Thirty-five percent of respondents oppose the idea.
Among those respondents backing legalization, 70 percent "approve of marijuana being sold at licensed outlets and taxed at liquor levels."
An even greater percentage of respondents, 72 percent, acknowledged that minor marijuana offenses should be reduced from a criminal misdemeanor to a non-criminal infraction. Earlier this year, members of the House approved legislation decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses by a margin of four to one. However, members of the state Senate tabled the measure after Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan voiced opposition to the proposal.
New Hampshire is the only New England state that maintains criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses.
When respondents were asked whether they believed state lawmakers should legalize and tax marijuana, decriminalize marijuana penalties, or maintain the status quo, 51 percent backed regulating the plant. Twenty-four percent of respondents supported maintaining criminal prohibitions while 22 percent endorsed decriminalization.
Separate 2015 statewide polls in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia have previously reported majority support for legalizing marijuana.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.