More than two-thirds of New Jersey residents said they plan to support legalizing marijuana when the matter goes before voters this November, according to a Thursday report from the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The poll found that of the 704 New Jersey adults interviewed between April 16 and 19, 61 percent said they will vote for legalization on the November ballot, while 34 percent said they will give a “no” vote.
In December, lawmakers approved putting the issue before voters as a constitutional amendment on the ballot during the presidential election, after failing multiple attempts to get a bill to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk legalizing recreational marijuana for adult-use.
The ballot resolution calls for the market to be regulated by the five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which is already slated to oversee the state’s rapidly expanding medical marijuana program under a bill Murphy signed in July.
The poll found that 62 percent of the state’s residents felt legalization would help the state’s economy, compared to 21 percent who felt it would make no difference and 10 percent who thought it would actually hurt the economy.
New Jersey would tax cannabis retail sales at the 6.625 percent sales tax, but allow municipalities to impose an additional 2 percent surcharge on any sales within their borders.
As of February, the state’s marijuana program has more than 72,000 patients served by seven dispensaries, as well as more than 2,000 caregivers and 1,000 doctors.
“Support for the marijuana ballot measure is widespread in part because many who have no opinion on whether legalization is a good idea figure they might as well vote for it,” Pat Murray, the institute’s director, said in the Thursday morning report.
Twenty-seven percent of residents responded that legalization could lead to an increase in other drug crimes, while 22 percent said there would be a decrease. The majority – 46 percent – felt that legalization would not have any impact on crimes elsewhere.
Thursday’s poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.