Marijuana should be legal in small amounts, says a slim majority of Marylanders in a new poll, and more than eight in 10 believe the consequences for possessing small amounts of the drug should be fines or rehabilitation rather than jail time, according to The Washington Post.
The Goucher Poll also found that nine out of 10 Maryland residents support use of marijuana for medical purposes, if prescribed by a doctor.
“When it comes to marijuana use in the state, a slight majority of Marylanders support legalization for small amounts, and a large majority support the drug’s use for medicinal purposes,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. “Citizens of the state also seem to support the decriminalization of marijuana, favoring policies that focus on rehabilitation and fines, rather than jail time for possession. This will be an issue to watch for the upcoming legislative session.”
The Goucher poll found that 51 percent of Marylanders support making marijuana use legal in the state, while 40 percent oppose legalization.
During this year’s legislative session, Maryland lawmakers passed a bill authorizing distribution of marijuana for medical purposes by qualified academic centers, the newspaper reported. Legislative analysts have said it is unlikely the drug would be legally dispensed before 2016.
A separate bill passed the Senate this year that would have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, carrying only a civil fine of up to $100. That legislation died in the House of Delegates. Supporters have vowed to try again when lawmakers reconvene in January, the Post said.
When presented with a list of consequences for possessing small amounts of marijuana, 49 percent of residents supported policies that focus on fines, while 34 percent said they favor rehabilitation. Six percent said they prefer measures that focus on jail time, the newspaper said.
Meanwhile, 90 percent support the use of marijuana for medical purposes, according to the poll.