Days Before Election Day, Polls Show Strong Support for Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

Voters in five states: Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota will decide this Election Day on statewide ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana for either adult-use or medical purposes.

According to the latest available polls, each of these measures currently holds a lead among voters — though in some states these leads are greater than in others.

Arizona Marijuana Laws

In Arizona, polling data released today by the firm OH Predictive Insights reports that Proposition 207 is “poised for passage. The ballot measure is supported by six in ten voters and opposed by just 36 percent. Large majorities of Democrats and Independents support it, as well as 43 percent of Republicans.”

The initiative permits those age 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and directs revenue from retail cannabis sales to fund various public education and safety programs. Adults would also be able to cultivate up to six plants for non-commercial purposes in a private residence. Those with marijuana convictions would be permitted to petition the courts to have their records expunged. You can read NORML’s op-eds in favor of the initiative here, here, and here. NORML staff and volunteers have also been making thousands of calls (over 20,000 communications with Arizona voters so far) in recent weeks to raise awareness of Prop. 207. If you wish to volunteer to phone bank, you can do so here.

Less recent polling data is available in Mississippi, where voters have a choice between two dueling medical cannabis initiatives: Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A. Measure 65 is a grassroots effort that puts the interests of patients first. By contrast, Alternative 65A is a cynical effort by lawmakers to undermine support for Initiative 65 — promoted by the very same legislators that have stifled medical marijuana reform in the state for over two decades. An excellent side-by-side comparison of the two measures is available here.

Polling data compiled earlier this summer by the firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates reported: “By a 29-point margin, Mississippi voters favor Initiative 65. A majority (52 percent) support Initiative 65, while fewer than one-quarter (23 percent) say they prefer Alternative 65A.” More current polling data is not available.

Yes on 118, Yes on 190

In Montana, voters are mixed on the fate of I-190, the statutory initiative would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and to cultivate up to four mature plants for personal use. According to polling data provided earlier this month by Montana State University, I-190 leads by a margin of 49 percent to 39 percent. The measure is polling strongly among Democrats (70 percent) and Independents (59 percent), but poorly among Republicans (27 percent). [Update: Just-released polling data now has I-190 leading among likely voters by a margin of 54 percent to 38 percent.]

In New Jersey, a solid majority of voters are supporting Question 1, which asks voters if they “approve amending the [state] Constitution to legalize … cannabis.” Three recent statewide polls released this past month all show support for the measure among voters to exceed 60 percent. You can learn more about the Ballot Question and what it means for New Jersey in NORML’s op-ed here.

South Dakota Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

Finally, in South Dakota, voters will decide on two separate measures: Constitutional Amendment A — which legalizes the possession and use of marijuana by adults, and Measure 26, which establishes a medical marijuana program for patients diagnosed with serious health conditions. The most recent polling available, conducted days ago by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, finds the medical cannabis measure winning easily, with some 74 percent of South Dakotans endorsing it.

But the legalization measure is in a much closer race. Pollsters report that 51 percent of likely voters back Amendment A, with 44 percent opposed and five percent undecided. Further, support for the Amendment is strongly partisan. Among South Dakota Democrats, 73 percent express their intent to vote ‘yes’ for Amendment A, as do 58 percent of Independents. By contrast, only 34 percent of Republicans back the amendment.

For additional information on 2020 ballot initiatives and polls, see NORML’s Election Hub.