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Elon poll: Nearly 2/3 believe legalizing marijuana would help NC economy

Feb. 11. A new Elon University poll says nearly two-thirds of North Carolina residents support reducing penalties for marijuana possession and believe it would help the state’s economy.

Eighteen percent of those polled said they are opposed to legalizing medical marijuana, while 64 percent of residents believe marijuana legalization would help the state’s economy.

According to a new economic analysis, New York could create up to 50,800 jobs and rake in billions in new business activity in the coming years if recreational cannabis is legalized this year,

More results

—16 percent say it would hurt the economy; 21 percent say they don’t know what impact it would have.

—45 percent say crime would decrease; 24 percent say it would increase

Education levels

Decriminalizing marijuana possession received the most support from residents who have higher levels of educational attainment, Democrats, white residents and men. The Elon poll results indicate that 72 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or more support the change compared to 65 percent of those with less than a bachelor’s degree.

Trends

Opposition to recreational marijuana legalization has fallen substantially over the last three years, according to Jason Husser, director of the Elon Poll and associate professor of political science.

“I suspect this is due in large part to the wave of states that have passed legalization measures. Medical marijuana legalization remains broadly supported in every demographic group we examined,” Husser said.

Marijuana bills have not gone very far in the NC General Assembly. Few have gotten a committee hearing, not to mention a vote. Asked if marijuana was a “gateway drug” that leads to the use of “hard drugs” like heroin and cocaine, Husser said 53 percent believed it was not while 27 percent believed it was indeed a gateway drug.

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