New Jerseyans Support Marijuana Legalization, Expungement, Taxation

Large majorities believe legalization will help state’s economy, areas in state with high marijuana arrest rates

NEW JERSEY: New Jersey legislators haven’t decided whether to legalize cannabis for personal use, but the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll shows more state residents favor than oppose – by a hefty margin of 58 percent to 37 percent – completely legalizing the possession and personal use of recreational marijuana.

Garden State opinions have been changing in recent years: almost one-third of those who currently favor legalization say they used to oppose it. Moreover, most view legalization as an issue of social justice – 79 percent believe individuals penalized for possessing a small amount of marijuana should be allowed to clear their records.

The poll also finds:

  • Half of all adults admit to having tried marijuana; one-quarter say they would consider using it if legalized.
  • The vast majority of New Jerseyans believe the sale, regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana would help the state’s economy; most (64 percent) say they would not be bothered if a store selling marijuana opened in their town.
  • By a 45 percent to 12 percent margin, more people think marijuana is less rather than more harmful than alcohol.

“As marijuana legalization approaches reality in the state, New Jerseyans are fully on board,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Support has built up slowly in the past five decades, with this being the first time a majority has ever sided with legalization. New Jerseyans are now almost three times as likely to support it as they were in 1971.” Koning noted that a national Gallup Poll conducted in early October likewise found 66 percent of all Americans favored the legalization of marijuana.

Results are from a statewide poll of 1,006 adults contacted by live callers on landlines and cell phones from Oct. 12-19. The sample has a margin of error of +/-3.6 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

Gallup: Two In Three Americans Endorse Marijuana Legalization

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Sixty-six percent of Americans believe that “the use of marijuana should be made legal,” according to nationwide polling data compiled by Gallup. The total marks an increase in support of almost 30 percent since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize adult marijuana use, and is the highest level of support ever reported by the polling firm.

Majorities of Republicans (53 percent), Independents (71 percent) and Democrats (75 percent) back legalization. Among those age 18 to 34, 78 percent support legalizing marijuana. Fifty–nine percent of those over the age of 55 similarly back legalization – more than three-times the level of support expressed by older Americans in the year 2000.

The Gallup poll comes just days after a new Pew Research Center survey reported 62 percent nationwide support for legalization – the highest total ever recorded by that firm.

“It is time for lawmakers of both parties to acknowledge the data-driven and political realities of legalization,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in a press release. “It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and implement common-sense, evidence-based regulations governing cannabis’ personal use and licensed production by responsible adults.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

 

Legalization of Cannabis Will Not Blunt Wine and Liquor Purchases, New TABS Analytics Report Reveals

CONNECTICUT: As legalized, recreational cannabis becomes available in more states, it is not expected to have a significant impact on the purchasing of wine and liquor, according to the TABS Analytics 2018 Wine and Liquor Study. Similarly, consumers are not strongly influenced by brand, outlet and price when it comes to their making purchasing decisions. Even though nearly two-thirds of consumers make wine or alcohol purchases, the study shows a highly fragmented, immature market in which 27 percent or fewer of survey respondents noted they were familiar with liquor brands and only 19 percent for wine. In comparison, brand engagement for other consumer packaged goods (CPG) categories typically exceeds 40 percent to 50 percent, with customers shopping more frequently at specific outlets, while seeking discounts and other deals.

“The wine and liquor markets are quite unlike any of the other CPG categories TABS tracks. Both categories are intensely fragmented, and consumers are not as heavily engaged in purchasing, which results in weaker brand power than we see in categories like cosmetics, vitamins or grocery,” said Dr. Kurt Jetta, president and founder of TABS Analytics. “Additionally, we don’t see the traditional deal-seeking behavior consumers typically exhibit when it comes to the beverage alcohol market. Even though outlets like Costco, Walmart and Trader Joes – which offer lower costs products – are among the top retailers, prohibitions on discounting liquors and other state-specific regulatory limitations to where these products can be sold result in pricing being less of a driver.”

TABS Analytics’ inaugural Wine and Liquor survey was conducted in June 2018 by SSI Research to examine key consumer, product and channel trends across 11 types of red and white wines and eight types of liquor, as well as attitudes toward use of cannabis. The survey included 1,900 geographically and demographically dispersed consumers, ages 21 and older.

Other key findings from the study include:

    • Legalization of cannabis to have minimal impact on beverage alcohol sales – Only 5 percent of regular wine purchasers and 9 percent of regular liquor purchasers indicated strongly that they would drink less if cannabis was legalized. Further, there does not appear to be a strong constituency against the legalization of cannabis, with less than 20 percent of wine and liquor drinkers saying they strongly opposed legalization.
    • Higher Education and Income Drive Wine and Liquor Purchases – Education has a high correlation with wine purchasing, growing from 29 percent for high school graduates or less to 60 percent for those with post-graduate degrees. Liquor purchases follow a similar trajectory, peaking at 40 percent with college graduates. Income appears to be a stronger predictor than education, however, for wine purchase levels, with 68 percent of consumers with incomes of $250,000 or more saying they regularly purchase wine. Liquor also shows upward momentum at higher income levels but is only regularly purchased by 42 percent in the highest income bracket. The survey also showed definite skews in ethnicity, with white consumers purchasing wine more frequently, black consumers purchasing liquor more frequently, and Hispanic and Asian purchasers at equally high levels for wine and liquor.
    • Geographic Wine and Alcohol Preferences Defy Conventional Wisdom – With the popularity of wine destinations of Napa and Sonoma in California, one would expect the West to dominate in wine purchasing. However, looking at regional preferences, the Northeast is the region where the largest percentage of people (53 percent) reported purchasing wine at least once during the past year, with the state of New Jersey outpacing the other top 13 states by a wide margin. Interestingly, the West region ranks lowest at 41 percent. Liquor purchasing is steady, around 35 percent in all regions overall. A closer look at census regions shows that only in the mid-South is liquor and wine purchasing equal at 41 percent.
    • Types of Wine and Liquor Purchased Highly Fragmented – Merlot (44 percent), Chardonnay and Cabernet (tied at 38 percent) are the top three types of wine purchased, while the remaining eight types are being purchased by 33 percent or fewer of consumers. At 61 percent, vodka is the most popular alcohol, with whiskey (45 percent), rum (36 percent) and tequila (35 percent) rounding out the top four types.
  • Walmart leads in wine, specialty retailers in liquor – Walmart accounts for 29 percent of wine purchases, followed by Costco (21 percent) and specialty retailers (19 percent). For liquor, specialty retailers rank at the top with 27 percent, followed by Walmart (20 percent), Costco (16 percent) and ABC stores (16 percent). The rest of the market for both wine and liquor is highly fragmented, with most other types of outlets accounting for less than 10 percent, including eComm, which has an estimated share of 5 percent

“Based on our survey, the wine and liquor industry appear immature, from the standpoint of market structure and consumer attitude, at present time,” Jetta said. “The combination of these factors create a fertile landscape for targeted marketing and investment spending to drive greater brand awareness. Since preferences and popularity of types of wines or liquors can change on a whim with a little catalyst, visibility at retailers – either through promotions at point of purchase or greater share of shelf – becomes disproportionate for wine and alcohol brands.”

Throughout 2018, TABS Analytics is conducting five studies across the consumer-packaged goods industry including: baby care, vitamins, wine and liquor, food and beverage, and cosmetics. The next webinar, on the food and beverage industry, will take place on September 12, 2018.

Poll: Record Percentage Of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.

Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2017 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups.

Seventy-three percent of respondents also expressed support for sealing the records of those previously convicted of marijuana-related offenses.

Commenting on the new poll results, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “In an era of increasing partisanship, public support for ending cannabis criminalization is an issue that crosses party lines. More and more, elected officials – and those who wish to be elected – must acknowledge that advocating in favor of marijuana policy reform is a political opportunity, not a political liability.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Survey: More Than Seven In Ten Practicing Physicians Back Medical Marijuana Option

NEW YORK: More than seven in ten practicing physicians support allowing qualified patients the option to use cannabis therapeutically, according to survey data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

New York University investigators surveyed the attitudes of practicing physicians in New York State. Seventy-one percent of respondents said that cannabis ought to be legal for medical purposes, and 76 percent acknowledged having patients who reported using marijuana for symptomatic relief at some point in their lives. Eighty-four percent of respondents said that they believed that opioids posed greater risks to patients’ health than cannabis.

The statewide findings are consistent with those of a 2014 nationwide WebMD survey of over 1,500 doctors which reported that a majority of physicians endorse the use of medical cannabis.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.

Michigan: Support Grows For Proposed Adult Use Initiative

MICHIGAN: More than six in ten Michigan voters endorse a proposed statewide ballot initiative legalizing the adult use and sale of cannabis.

According to polling data compiled by the EPIC-MRA polling research firm and commissioned by Michigan NORML, 61 percent of voters say that they would vote yes on the measure “if the election were held today.” That percentage is up four percentage points from last year, and is an increase of 11 percent since 2014.

Commenting on the statewide polling, MINORML Board Member Brad Forrester said: “I’m not surprised. These results are the product of Michigan NORML’s effective advocacy for the past several years.”

Michigan NORML is a member of The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is backing the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. The initiative permits those over the age of 21 to possess and grow personal use quantities of cannabis and related concentrates, while also licensing activities related to the commercial marijuana production and retail marijuana sales.

In November, proponents turned in more than 360,000 signatures in an effort to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot. State officials must certify a total of 252,523 valid signatures from registered voters in order to place the initiative on the November 2018 ballot.

Marijuana law reform advocates are continuing to gather signatures for voter-initiated efforts in Missouriand Utah. Proponents of a medical marijuana initiative in South Dakota have turned in their signatures and are awaiting a review by the Secretary of State’s office.

In Oklahoma, voters will decide on June 26 whether or not to approve State Question 788 – a broad-based initiative that permits physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients at their sole discretion. NORML endorsed State Question 788 in January.


For more information, visit: Michigan NORML or The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

Latest Fox News Poll Finds Record Support In Favor Of Legalization

NEW YORK: Fifty-nine percent of voters believe the adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to nationwide polling data compiled by Fox News. The percentage marks an eight-point percentage increase since 2015, and is the highest level of support ever reported by the media agency.

Majorities of Democrats (68 percent) and Independents (67 percent) back legalization, but only 46 percent of Republicans endorse reform.

The Fox News results are similar to those of other recent national polls. An October 2017 Gallup pollreported that 64 percent of the public, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, agree that cannabis use should be legal, the highest percentage ever reported by the polling firm. A January 2018 Pew poll determined that 61 percent of Americans back legalization, the highest support level ever reported by the institute.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

New Frontier Reports Legal Cannabis Sales On The Rise

NEW YORK: The legal cannabis market was valued an estimated $6.6 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach more than $24 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 16 percent during the forecast years According to a report from New Frontier Data.

Accelerating pace of legalization for both medical and recreational cannabis in the U.S. is the main factor that drives the growth of the market. On January 1st, recreational cannabis products have become legal in California, the world’s sixth-largest economy. New Frontier data projected legal cannabis sales in California to reach $2.8 billion in 2017 and $6.6 billion by 2025.

Data also shows that support for cannabis legalization continues to rise. According to Gallup’s latest poll in October, 64 percent of Americans support for legalizing cannabis, the highest level in nearly a half-century. The survey is based on a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older. According to another poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, 60 percent of respondents now supported legalizing cannabis for personal use, up from 55 percent in 2014.

Poll: Tobacco, Alcohol, Sugar Perceived As More Harmful To Health Than Marijuana

NEW YORK: Most Americans believe that consuming cannabis poses fewer harms to health than does the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, or sugar, according to the findings of a nationwide Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Respondents were asked which of the four substances they believed to be “most harmful to a person’s overall health.” Most respondents chose tobacco (41 percent), followed by alcohol (24 percent) and sugar (21 percent).

Only nine percent of those surveyed said that they believed that marijuana was most harmful to health. That percentage is nearly identical to the total reported by pollsters in 2014, the last time they surveyed the issue.

Sixty percent of respondents also acknowledged that they favored the passage of state laws permitting “adults to purchase small quantities of marijuana for their own personal use from regulated, state-licensed businesses.” That total is consistent with those of other recent polls finding that a strong majority of voters support legalizing and regulating adult marijuana use.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Latest Pew Poll Finds Record Support In Favor Of Legalization

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to polling data compiled by the Pew Research Center. The percentage is the highest level of support ever reported by the firm, which has polled Americans’ views regarding legalization since 1969.

Support is strongest among African Americans (71 percent), Democrats (69 percent), and Independents (65 percent). Support was weakest among Republicans (43 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (38 percent). However, among self-identified Republicans under 40 years of age, 62 percent favor legalization.

Pew’s results are similar to those of other recent national polls. For instance, an October Gallup poll found that 64 percent of the public support making adult cannabis use legal. A Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday reports that 58 percent of voters nationwide back adult use legalization, and 91 percent believe that medical cannabis should be legal. That poll also reports that 70 percent of voters oppose federal interference in state marijuana policies.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.