In early voting states, Republicans want marijuana reform

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

A poll in key early voting states found strong support among voters in early primary and caucus states for curbing federal involvement in marijuana laws.

According to The Hill, 67 percent of New Hampshire Republican voters and 64 percent of Iowa Republican voters want relaxed federal enforcement of marijuana laws.

The changing opinions within the Republican Party on drugs is a dramatic change from when Ronald Reagan declared a war on drugs.

Federal law — and Department of Justice policy — still prohibits marijuana use. In states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use, dispensaries still face the threat of federal drug raids and problems with securing bank accounts for business revenue.

“Politicians running to become our next president should take note of just how uniformly voters in these key states want to end federal marijuana prohibition,” Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in a press release.

Marijuana Majority commissioned the poll.

Support for a federalist approach on marijuana laws is weakest among Republicans. In Iowa, 70 percent of independents support a state decision, and 80 percent of Democrats. In New Hampshire, 76 percent of independents support it, and 77 percent of Democrats.

Millennials, however, aren’t the strongest registered voters who support a federalist approach. In New Hampshire, only 66 percent supported states carrying out marijuana laws without federal interference, lower than any other age group. In Iowa, only 68 percent supported it, only beating out those older than 65, of which 65 percent supported it.

A few Republican candidates explicitly oppose state legalizations and have said they would enforce federal drug laws. Sen. Marco Rubio staunchly opposes legalization, as does New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

If Republicans shift their tone to a federalist approach and control federal enforcement, they could appeal to a broader voter base.

Public Policy Polling conducted the poll from Aug.  7 to Aug. 9  with 1,500 Iowa registered voters and 841 New Hampshire voters.


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