Survey: Majority of Louisiana Voters Support Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

Image by TerreDiCannabis_ on Pixabay

A survey conducted by the University of New Orleans’ Survey Research Center (SRC) found that Louisiana’s voters overwhelmingly support the legalization of recreational marijuana.

The survey found that nearly 60 percent of registered voters across the state support legalization, with only 30 percent opposed to the idea. This is a dramatic reversal of public opinion – the same survey conducted in 2018, 2019, and 2020 showed around 55 percent of voters were opposed with around 37 percent supporting legalization.

Image courtesy of UNO SRC report “Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Louisiana

Opinions on the issue tend to vary across age groups, with younger respondents reacting more favorably to the idea of legalization than older respondents. According to the survey report, 83 percent of 18-34-year-olds, 70 percent of 35-44-year-olds, and 63 percent of 45 to 54-year-olds support legalization. However, only 48 percent of respondents ages 55-64 support legalization, and for those 65 and older, the number of respondents supporting legalization drops to 30 percent.

Image courtesy of UNO SRC report “Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in Louisiana”

“The key difference is certainly younger people, much greater in favor, the older, particularly the senior citizens are opposed,” said Dr. Edward Chervenak, Director of UNO Survey Research.

As one might expect, party lines also played a part in how respondents felt about legalization. The majority of Democrats support the idea, while Republicans remain split down the middle.

In 2021, the New Orleans City Council passed a measure that ended penalties for small amounts of cannabis possession and pardoned about 10,000 convictions and pending cases. But the big news is what is happening at the federal level.

On April 14, a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers filed a bill that, if passed, would require the US Attorney General to create a commission that would be responsible for making recommendations on a regulatory system for marijuana that would mimic what is already in place for alcohol.

“With 91 percent of Americans supporting either medical or recreational cannabis legalization, it’s time for the federal government to respect the will of our voters – both Democrat and Republican alike – and begin a serious conversation about what a post-prohibition America should look like,” said Representative Dave Joyce (R-OH).

According to a summary of the bill, the measure would “provide lawmakers across the ideological spectrum the opportunity to engage on cannabis reform by creating a fair, honest, and publicly transparent process for the federal government to establish effective regulation to be enacted upon the termination of its 85-year prohibition of cannabis.”

Earlier in April, the House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this month that would federally legalize cannabis. An identical version of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act had passed in 2020 but stalled in the Senate. This time, however, Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he and other Democrats are currently reaching out to Republican senators to rally support for a separate legalization bill – the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA) that will be introduced later this month in the Senate.


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