Utah’s neighbors to the west, south, and east all have legal, regulated cannabis markets for both medical and adult use. Now a new poll suggests that Utah voters want to legal medical marijuana in their state, too.
Voters from nearly all demographic groups expressed support for medical marijuana, the survey found, included 64% of Republican voters and 63% of active voters who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Older voters in Utah supported medical cannabis legalization at an even higher rate, with 75% of voters 50 and older in favor. And when asked about chronic pain, 72% of all respondents said they felt cannabis should be available as treatment.
“The poll results show overwhelming and broad support for medical cannabis in Utah,” said DJ Schanz, director of Utah Patients Coalition. “Voters believe that patients should be able to safely and legally access the medicine they need.”
The Utah Patients Coalition is also behind a prospective ballot initiative announced in Salt Lake City this week that would legalize medical cannabis in the state. Supporters say they’re frustrated by the Legislature’s inaction despite broad support for legalization from constituents.
Christine Stenquist, a campaign spokesperson for Utah Patients Coalition, said in a statement that Utah needs to adopt medicinal marijuana rules as soon as possible, especially in the face of the deadly opioid epidemic that has taken a heavy toll in Utah.
“The opioid epidemic has already taken too many lives in our state,” Stenquist said. “We should allow medical cannabis as a treatment for chronic pain for two urgent reasons. First, medical cannabis is a more effective treatment for many patients. And second, it can potentially play a significant role in reducing the rate of opioid overdose deaths in Utah.”
The poll, conducted in February, was commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project, a national cannabis reform organization. Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, an opinion research firm, conducted the survey.