In a new survey, Arkansas voters made it clear they prefer the implementation of medical marijuana to allow for smoking cannabis and not waiting for federal law to allow for statewide usage.
A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College poll asked 440 Arkansas voters for their preferences on two debates occurring at the state legislature regarding medical marijuana’s implementation. Voters approved the measure last November by a 53-47% margin. In the latest survey conducted Tuesday, Feb. 14, voters were asked:
Q: Last November, a majority of the state’s voters supported a constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana in Arkansas. Legislators are now working to implement the amendment with a range of actions. One proposal under consideration would prohibit medical marijuana from being smoked, but allow it to be used in other forms. Do you support or oppose a ban on smoking medical marijuana?
41.5% Support a ban on smoking medical marijuana 50% Oppose a ban on smoking medical marijuana 8.5% Don’t know
Q: Another medical marijuana proposal under consideration would stop the implementation of the Medical Marijuana Amendment in Arkansas until the federal government legalizes the practice. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
42% Support waiting until the federal government legalizes 51.5% Oppose waiting until the federal government legalizes 6.5% Don’t Know
ANALYSIS Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College, helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:
In the aftermath of Arkansans’ passage of a state constitutional amendment creating a medical marijuana program in the state last November over the opposition of most state governmental leaders, some legislators have considered legislation that would delay or alter implementation in some fundamental way.
Two ideas promoted since the current session of the General Assembly have been a delay in implementation until the federal government changes its policy towards medical marijuana (currently illegal) or the banning of the smoking of marijuana, meaning that marijuana could only be delivered by edibles. Our polling indicates that Arkansans meant it when they voted for medical marijuana last year as slight majorities of the state’s voters oppose these efforts to undermine implementation. Last year, Issue 6 was ratified by just at 53% of the Arkansas electorate. Similar majorities oppose fundamental tinkering with the program and its implementation and the patterns of opposition mirror patterns shown last year in terms of support and opposition to the measure itself.
On the issue of delay until federal legalization, overwhelming majorities of those under 30 and voters aged 45 to 64 oppose delay, while majorities of those over 65 and 30 to 44 favor the move. While a slight majority (53%) of GOP voters support delay, other political groups are decidedly more dubious. Finally, six in ten male voters oppose delay while a slight plurality (46%) of women favor it.
On the smoking ban, the exact same patterns show themselves with younger voters, men, African-Americans, and political independents most thoroughly opposed to the provisions not included in the original amendment.
This survey was conducted on Tuesday, February 14, 2017. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-4.5%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 440 Arkansas frequent voters statewide. All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.