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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Poll: 86% of residents believe cannabis should be legal
By News Release @ 4:10 AM :: 1719 Views :: Drugs

Cannabis policy public opinion poll

from SMS Research, on behalf of the Hawai‘i Cannabis Industry Association and Peters Communications LLC, Released Jan 31, 2023

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

SMS Research, on behalf of the Hawai‘i Cannabis Industry Association and Peters Communications LLC, conducted a statewide public opinion poll of Hawai‘i adults to gather insight about resident sentiment towards cannabis legislation in the state. The principal objectives of the research were to measure attitudes and opinions about current medicinal cannabis law and its impact on residents, gauge resident sentiment about revising current law to legalize adult recreational cannabis use, and determine the importance of various regulations that could be implemented if Hawai‘i statutes were revised.

Key Findings

In terms of general views of cannabis use, 86 percent of residents believe cannabis should be legal. When separated, 45 percent of residents believe cannabis should be legal for recreational use, 41 percent believe it should only be legal for medical use, and nine percent believe it should never be legal. Cannabis usage does not appear to carry a stigma among a majority of Hawai‘i residents.

Over 75 percent of residents have a favorable opinion towards either medicinal cannabis use or recreational cannabis use; just 15 percent have an unfavorable opinion of either of those uses. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of residents believe cannabis can be used safely.

Medicinal cannabis use is highly favored among the resident population. Approximately 75 percent of residents have a favorable opinion of the use of cannabis for medical purposes, 14 percent hold neither a favorable nor unfavorable view, and ten percent have an unfavorable opinion of medicinal cannabis.

Opinions of the impact of Hawai‘i’s medicinal cannabis law on residents is varied: the largest group of residents (45%) note that it has been beneficial, seven percent say it has been harmful, 32 percent believe it has been both beneficial and harmful, and eight percent indicate it has had no impact on the residents of the state. Those who state the law has been beneficial note positive personal experiences, the ability of cannabis to help people (medically) and alleviate pain, and the fact that cannabis is a natural medical alternative rather than a manufactured prescription drug. Those who have a less favorable assessment of the impact of the law principally note their belief that the law has been abused by those without a compelling medical need.

About half of residents (52%) indicated support for revising current law to legalize adult recreational cannabis use in Hawai‘i, compared to 31 percent who are opposed, and 15 percent who neither support nor oppose revising the law. Reasons for support are varied, but tend to center on social and economic benefits, the belief that citizens should have the ability to choose what to do with their bodies, and the fact that cannabis is perceived to be safe, especially compared to prescription drugs. Reasons for opposition are equally varied, but focus on the perception that society may be harmed, the belief that cannabis itself is harmful (and a potential gateway to other drugs), and insistence that cannabis will be abused if legalized.

Political candidates are unlikely to be affected by support for recreational cannabis legislation, especially if their districts are comprised of sociopolitical groups that are more inclined to support legalization. Thirty percent of residents indicated they would be more likely to support a candidate who supported legalizing adult recreational use, compared to 26 percent who would be less likely to support a candidate who espoused that same view. Nearly 40 percent of residents, however, indicated that a candidate’s view on legalization doesn’t make much of a difference in their vote.

A majority of residents believe regulations are important. Ninety-three percent of residents stated an age limit was either very important or somewhat important, 83 percent indicated limits on quantity purchased and prohibitions of use in public places was important, and 81 percent thought it was important that cannabis products were taxed. Slightly less importance was attached to limits on dispensary locations (72%) and number of dispensaries (67%).

In terms of potential impact of new legislation, a larger proportion of residents believe legalization can produce positive social and economic outcomes compared to those who think legalization will produce negative outcomes. For example, 54 percent of residents believe legalization would be good for the economy compared to 16 percent who believe it will be bad. Forty-five percent of residents believe legalization would produce significant tax revenue, compared to 36 percent who believe it would generate small tax revenue. Forty-four percent believe it would reduce the burden on Hawai‘i’s criminal justice system while 38 percent believe it would not reduce the burden. From a social justice perspective, 42 percent believe legalization would help those groups who have historically been negatively impacted by cannabis laws; just 21 percent believe legalization would hurt those same groups. In terms of overall impact, 34 percent believe legalization of adult recreational use would be beneficial to the residents of the state, 23 percent believe it would be harmful, and the largest single group (37%) believe legalization would produce both benefit and harm.

Less than half the population noted any experience with cannabis. Forty-four percent of residents indicated they are current or former cannabis users, less than ten percent indicated they have a 329 Card, and 36 percent stated they knew someone who possessed a 329 Card.

Additional analyses demonstrate there are several sociopolitical variables that are associated with many of the key findings in the report. In general, older residents (55+) are more inclined to have less experience with cannabis and be more opposed to both medicinal and recreational cannabis. Residents of Japanese ancestry are also less likely to have experience with cannabis, and show significantly more opposition to cannabis policy and potential outcomes. Native Hawaiians, on the other hand, are more likely to have experience with cannabis and to support medicinal and recreational cannabis policy. Other ethnicities such as Caucasians, Filipinos, and “other” ethnicities generally fall somewhere between Japanese and Native Hawaiians.

In terms of political ideology, liberals are generally more supportive of existing and potential recreational cannabis laws and are more optimistic about the potential outcomes associated with legalization. Conservatives show little support and are more pessimistic about the impact of legalization. Moderates usually fall somewhere between liberals and conservatives on many of the measures.

read … Full Report

HCIA Jan 30, 2023: The Hawaiʻi Cannabis Industry Association Releases a New Report Highlighting Potential State Benefits from the Legalization of Adult-Use Cannabis

HNN: 86% of Hawaiʻi residents want marijuana legalization

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