Based on a recent poll, a significant number of Virginia Voters, including various republicans are supporting recreational marijuana legalization.
On Tuesday, Christopher Newport University’s Wason Centre for Civic Leadership published the survey which comes as reforms to decriminalize marijuana have rapidly moved through several committees within the legislature prior to a major mid-session deadline to acquire floor votes come Friday.
Asked about the reform, 68% of respondents asserted that they support the legalization while 32% who opposed the reform. Authorizing cannabis acquired the highest support than any of the three criminal justice reforms featured in the poll, which also inquired about terminating the death penalty and eradicating compulsory minimum sentences for some crimes.
A demographic analysis indicates that authorizing marijuana enjoys stronger support from each surveyed group.
80% of Democrats were likely to support the reform, however, 51% of Republicans also supported adult-use legalization. 64% of independents are also on board.
79% of Young individuals aged between 18 and 44 and 57% of elders aged 45 and above support legalization.78% of the African Americans are also in favor of legalization compared to 65% of Caucasians supporting legalization.
The results are timely and indicate that Virginians are yearning for lawmakers to work on the policy change tabled before them. This could happen soon given that the authorization legislation has ascended this far during this session.
Top legislators and Governor Northam Ralph launched a legalization schedule during mid-January.
The companion senate and house bills have ascended through several commissions and sub-commissions, with more to arrive this week as legislators are experiencing a ‘crossover’ time limit to hold the floor votes and disseminate the respective legislation pieces to the second chamber.
Last year, the legislature approved a reform that legalized possession of not more than an ounce of cannabis, replacing current penalties with a twenty-five-dollar fine with zero jail time.