Legal Weed Seen as Economic Boon for NJ

The Monmouth University Poll finds that 6-in-10 New Jersey residents support legalizing marijuana use, with support now 11 points higher than it was four years ago. Most say that such a policy will help the state’s economy and few think it will lead to an increase in drug crime. But the poll also finds widespread concern over another drug issue – the opioid crisis – with most New Jerseyans saying the state is not doing enough to deal with this problem.

Most New Jersey adults (59%) currently support legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, while 37% are opposed. Statewide support has increased since Monmouth last asked this question four years ago. Support stood at 48% in April 2014 while opposition was at 47%. Support has increased most dramatically among Democrats, going from 49% in 2014 to 65% currently. Independents’ support increased from 51% to 60% and Republican support increased from 37% to 45% over the same time period.

Helping to drive this opinion is the fact that 60% of New Jerseyans believe that legalizing marijuana would help the state’s economy – including 68% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and even 50% of Republicans. Just 16% of state residents say it would hurt the New Jersey economy and 20% say it would have no impact.

“The strongest argument for marijuana legalization may be the bandwagon effect. With many other states doing it, most New Jerseyans seem to view such a move as a potential economic boon with a limited downside,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Just one-third of state residents (32%) feel that legalizing marijuana would lead to an increase in other drug crimes while 26% say it will actually lead to a decrease in those offenses. Another 39% say marijuana legalization would have no impact on the rate of other drug crimes.

“Even though increasing drug crime is not a major concern in the marijuana legalization debate, the public sees other serious issues with drug use, especially opioids,” said Murray.

Nearly 9-in-10 New Jersey adults (86%) say that addiction to opioids – which include pain medications like Vicodin and OxyContin as well as street drugs like heroin and fentanyl – is a very serious problem in the United States. Another 9% say it is somewhat serious and very few say it is either not too (2%) or not at all (1%) serious. One-in-five (20%) say that this issue is a bigger problem in New Jersey than it is in most other parts of the country and 13% say it is less of a problem here, while the majority (59%) say the opioid addiction problem is about the same in New Jersey as it is elsewhere in the country.

Most New Jerseyans (59%) say the state is not doing enough to deal with the opioid problem here. Just 26% say it is doing enough.  By party, 64% of Democrats and 62% of independents compared with 47% of Republicans say the state is not doing enough.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 6 to 10, 2018 with 703 New Jersey adults. The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent for the full sample. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.

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