A majority of Marylanders supports legalizing marijuana, but that support has slipped slightly, according to a new poll from Goucher College.
Sixty percent of those surveyed by the Goucher Poll support legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use. That’s down from 67% support in the last Goucher College Poll in March.
Overall, however, support for legalization has ticked up over the years. In 2014, just 50% of Marylanders questioned by the Goucher Poll were in favor of legalization.
Maryland lawmakers are expected to give serious consideration to marijuana legalization during their 2022 General Assembly session. Legalization has been considered before, but lawmakers haven’t yet sorted out the myriad details that would go along with it, such as who would get licenses to grow and sell it, what the tax rate would be and how to adjust criminal laws.
But this summer, House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones announced her support for putting the question of legalization to voters on the 2022 ballot as a referendum. Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat, also appointed a work group of lawmakers to investigate the ins and outs of legalization.
At the same time, Senate President Bill Ferguson said he’d support legalizing marijuana by passing a law during the General Assembly session. The Baltimore Democrat had co-chaired an earlier work group on marijuana issues.
Goucher College’s Mileah Kromer said the dip in support was not significant. But it should be a sign to pro-legalization advocates that they need to work hard to get legalization passed, either by law or referendum.
“The advocates are going to need to bring it across the finish line. There is clear, strong support and it’s now time for the advocates to turn it into votes,” said Kromer, director of Goucher’s Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics
Maryland Policy & Politics
Another issue facing lawmakers has even stronger support: Ensuring that abortion remains a legal medical procedure in Maryland.
Keeping abortion legal had 88% support in the Goucher Poll. That support was evenly split between respondents who think abortions should be legal “under any circumstances” and those who think abortion be legal “only under certain circumstances.” Just 10% said abortion should be “illegal in all circumstances.”
Following Supreme Court rulings that have allowed restrictive abortion laws to stand in other states, there’s been renewed interest in protecting access to the procedure in Maryland.
The procedures have been protected in Maryland since 1992, when voters approved enshrining the provisions of the seminal Roe v. Wade court case in state law. The approval came by a wide margin: Nearly 62% supported the law, and about 38% opposed it.
If lawmakers wanted to further protect the right to abortion, they could consider asking voters to approve an amendment to the state constitution or they may weigh other laws to protect access.
Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, continued to receive high marks from poll respondents. He has 68% percent approval, with 22% disapproving and 7% who were not sure. Hogan has had consistently high approval ratings in the Goucher College Poll, peaking at 71% approval in October 2020.
The Goucher College Poll questioned 700 Maryland adults over landlines and cellphones about a variety of topics between Oct. 14 and Oct. 20. The poll has a margin of error or plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.