Another Poll Shows Majority Support For Marijuana Legalization, Including Most Republicans – Marijuana Moment

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A majority of U.S. adults, including most Republicans, support national marijuana legalization, another poll has found. It’s the second such national survey to be released over the past week.
Rasmussen Reports asked Americans if they support the “national legalization of marijuana,” and 62 percent of respondents said yes.
62% of adults favor legalizing marijuana, while 23% oppose.#breakingpoll#legalizemarijuana
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) November 4, 2021

One of the more notable demographics to voice support for the policy change was Republicans, 54 percent of whom said they back legalization. That’s compared to 68 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of those who said they had an “other” political affiliation.
The survey also looked at whether respondents felt legalization should be a federal, state or local decision.
About half (47 percent) said the federal government should be in charge of legalizing cannabis, 32 percent said the states should decide and 11 percent favor local action on reform.
Support Grows for Legalizing Marijuana#breakingpoll#legalizemarijuana
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) November 4, 2021

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they live in a state where marijuana is legal, compared to 38 percent who said they didn’t. Also, 50 percent said they’ve smoked cannabis versus 45 percent who said they haven’t.
The only demographics that didn’t express majority support for national legalization were those 65 or older (40 percent) and those with incomes of $200,000 or more (38 percent).
The survey involved interviews with 1,000 Americans from October 21-24. The margin of error is +/-3 percentage points.
This is the second poll in recent days to show majority public support for legalization.
A survey from Gallup found that 68 percent of U.S. adults said they back legalizing cannabis in this latest survey.
That’s the same percentage that the firm reported for its last poll in November 2020, where support had reached its highest level since 1969.
The release of these poll results comes as congressional lawmakers continue to pursue reform. A key House committee approved a legalization bill in September, and Senate leaders are also pushing a plan to end federal cannabis prohibition. Additionally, a new Republican-led effort to federally legalize and tax cannabis will soon be introduced in the House.
Yet, despite the solid public support for reform, particularly among Democrats, President Joe Biden continues to oppose adult-use legalization. Instead, he’s supportive of more modest proposals to federally decriminalize cannabis, legalize the plant for medical use and let states set their own policies.
While the president is personally against comprehensively ending prohibition, the Congressional Research Service released a report on Wednesday explaining steps he and his administration could take to repair the harms of cannabis criminalization.
Recent state and local polling has also continued to show the public backing broad marijuana reform.
For example, as multiple Pennsylvania lawmakers introduce bills to legalize cannabis, support for the reform is at a record high in the state, according to a new survey.
Marijuana legalization is more popular in Maryland than Biden and the state’s two U.S. senators, a poll released late last month found.
At the national level, Gallup released a survey in August showing that nearly half of American adults have tried cannabis.
Last year, the firm also published a survey finding that about 70 percent of Americans view smoking cannabis to be a morally acceptable activity. That’s higher than their views on the morality of issues such as  gay relationships, medical testing of animals, the death penalty and abortion.
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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment’s Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.
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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says it is required to continue denying federally assisted housing to people who use marijuana, even if they’re acting in compliance with state law.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a letter to HUD Sec. Marcia Fudge in May, imploring the department to use executive discretion and not punish people over cannabis in legal states.
The department’s response letter, which Norton released on Tuesday, says that, “consistent with federal law, HUD prohibits the admission of users of marijuana to HUD assisted housing, including those who use medical marijuana.”
.@HUDgov denied my request to allow marijuana use in federally assisted housing in jurisdictions where it is legal.
I'm disappointed in their denial, though it shows why it's so vital that Congress pass my bill permitting such use.
— Eleanor #DCStatehood Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) November 9, 2021

It cited relevant statute and reiterated that the department must “prohibit admission to HUD rental assistance programs based on the illegal use of controlled substances, including state legalized medical marijuana.”
Here’s the statute that HUD referred to:
“(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a public housing agency or an owner of federally assisted housing, as determined by the Secretary, shall establish standards that prohibit admission to the program or admission to federally assisted housing for any household with a member—
(A) who the public housing agency or owner determines is illegally using a controlled substance.”
“Absent a change in federal law, HUD does not have the discretion to admit users of marijuana, including medical marijuana, to the Public Housing program,” the letter states.
Norton said in a press release that she’s “very disappointed in HUD’s decision to refuse to protect residents in federally assisted housings who use marijuana in compliance with their state and local laws.”
“Americans are continually evolving on the issue of marijuana use, with rapidly increasing in support,” the congresswoman said. “This response shows even more why Congress should enact my bill that would permit marijuana use in federally assisted housing in compliance with state law.”
The department also referenced a 2014 memo that it issued on the subject that similarly defers to statute, but advocates say it’s disappointing to see HUD continue to rely on seven-year-old guidance, as numerous states have moved to legalize cannabis for medical or adult use in the years since.
“It is a travesty that the Biden administration would prioritize process over people when it comes to a fundamental need such as housing for those who consume cannabis,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “With millions and millions of registered medical marijuana patients around the country, disproportionally among them veterans, action must be taken to respect the dignity of our fellow citizens.”
HUD did suggest, however, that property managers have some discretion when it comes to people who have already been admitted to federally assisted housing and who are later found to use cannabis.
While they must set policies “allowing” for the termination of housing for people who are found to be using controlled substances, the law “provides discretion to [public housing authorities] and owners to determine, on a case-by-case basis, when it is appropriate to terminate the tenancy of the household.”
That’s not the type of explicit protection that Norton and others are seeking, however. HUD’s response may spur lawmakers to take up the congresswoman’s standalone bill on the issue, which was filed in May this session.
The legislation stipulates that “an individual may not be denied occupancy of federally assisted housing on the basis of using marijuana in compliance with state law, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development may not prohibit or discourage the use of marijuana in federally assisted housing if such use is in compliance with state law.”

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Earlier this year, Norton attempted to get the reform enacted as amendments to large-scale spending legislation, but they did not make it into the final bill.
The congresswoman filed earlier versions of the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act in 2018 and 2019, but they did not receive hearings or votes.
On a related note, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) filed a bill in July that’s meant to promote affordable housing in the U.S. and also includes a provision preventing landlords from evicting people over manufacturing marijuana extracts if they have a license to do so.
Read HUD’s response letter on marijuana use and public housing below: 

Click to access hud-response-letter-to-rep-eleanor-holmes-norton.pdf

Click to access hud-response-letter-to-rep-eleanor-holmes-norton.pdf
Top Mexican Senator Says There’s Agreement To Prioritize Marijuana Legalization Legislation This Session

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.
A top Mexican senator says that there’s agreement among key legislative leaders of multiple parties to prioritize marijuana legalization legislation this session.
Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal Avila of the ruling MORENA party made the comments following a meeting of the Political Coordination Board on Monday. He said that the panel “agreed to prioritize cannabis laws,” among other issues like cybersecurity, according to a translation.
En reunión de la Jucopo, acordamos priorizar las leyes de cannabis, catastro y registro, movilidad, ciberseguridad, economía circular y Código Nacional de Procedimientos Civiles y Familiares. El propósito es aprobarlas en este periodo de sesiones.
— Ricardo Monreal A. (@RicardoMonrealA) November 8, 2021

Monreal and other top legislators have been emphasizing the need to establish regulations for marijuana in recent months.
The Mexican Supreme Court declared nearly three years ago that the country’s prohibition on the personal possession and cultivation of cannabis was unconstitutional. Lawmakers were then obligated to enact the policy change but have since been unable to reach a consensus on legislation to put in place regulations for a marijuana program.
At the request of legislators, the court agreed to extend its deadline for Congress to formally end prohibition on multiple occasions. But because of the repeated failed attempts to meet those deadlines, justices ultimately voted to end criminalization on their own in June.
Monreal previously said that the stage is set for lawmakers to actually pass a marijuana legalization bill during the new session after multiple attempts in recent years fell short of getting over the finish line.
“With the beginning of the LXV Legislature, a new possibility was opened to discuss and approve this long-delayed law, which would put an end to 100 years of prohibitionist policy and criminalization of the consumption of the cannabis flower, opening, in turn, a multimillion dollar market nationally and internationally, which could be beneficial for the economic reactivation of our country,” he said last month.
La Jucopo, que preside @RicardoMonrealA, acordó que para el cierre de este periodo ordinario de sesiones será una prioridad para el Senado aprobar la regulación de cannabis, así como las leyes de Economía Circular y de Movilidad y Seguridad Vial.
— Senadores Morena (@MorenaSenadores) November 9, 2021

Senate President Olga Sánchez Cordero, who previously served at a cabinet-level position in President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration, said weeks later that “there is no longer room for the prohibitionist policy.
“We are the Mexico of freedoms, and the people are aware of it,” she said. Lawmakers will take up implementation legislation “in the coming weeks or months—but I do not want more time to pass,” she said.
After the Supreme Court independently invalidated prohibition earlier this year, advocates stressed that the decision underscores the need for legislators to expeditiously pass a measure to implement a comprehensive system of legal and regulated sales. They want to ensure that a market is established that’s equitable, addresses the harms of criminalization on certain communities and promotes personal freedom.
Lawmakers came close to achieving that goal over the past three years—but failed to get the job done.
The Senate approved a legalization bill late last year, and then the Chamber of Deputies made revisions and passed it in March, sending it back to the originating chamber. A couple of Senate committees then took up and cleared the amended measure, but leaders quickly started signaling that certain revisions made the proposal unworkable.
Monreal said further revisions may be necessary to get a final bill ready for enactment.
“If this law is approved in this ordinary period of session, some modifications should also be made to the tax collection legal framework, to provide for a special tax on cannabis and its derivatives, as is the case of other products with an impact on public health: spirits, beer, gasoline and tobacco,” he said, estimating that it could result in the equivalent of nearly a billion U.S. dollars in revenue.
After the Chamber of Deputies previously approved the Senate-passed legalization bill, senators said that the revised proposal was critically internally conflicted—on provisions concerning legal possession limits, the definition of hemp and other issues—and lawmakers themselves could be subject to criminal liability if it went into effect as drafted.
But Monreal said in April that if the court were to make a declaration of unconstitutionality before a measure to regulate cannabis was approved, it would result in “chaos.”
The top senator also talked about the importance of lawmakers taking their time to craft good policy and not rush amidst lobbying from tobacco and pharmaceutical industry interests.
“We must not allow ourselves to be pressured by interests,” he said at the time. “The Senate must act with great prudence in this matter.”
Sen. Eduardo Ramírez Aguilar of the MORENA party said in April that “at this time, it is important to legislate in the terms that are presented to us” and then consider additional revisions to cannabis laws through subsequent bills.
That’s the position many legalization advocates took as well, urging lawmakers to pass an imperfect bill immediately and then work on fixing it later.
Under the proposal, adults 18 and older would be allowed to purchase and possess up to 28 grams of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. The deputies made changes that principally concern the regulatory structure, rules for the commercial market and licensing policies.
One of the most notable changes made by the Chamber of Deputies was that the revised bill would not establish a new independent regulatory body to oversee the licensing and implementation of the program as was approved by the Senate. Instead, it would give that authority to an existing agency, the National Commission Against Addictions.
Deputies also approved additional revisions to increase penalties for unauthorized possession of large amounts of cannabis, prevent forest land from being converted to marijuana growing areas and to require regulators to “coordinate campaigns against problematic cannabis use and…develop permanent actions to deter and prevent its use by minors and vulnerable groups.”
Advocates had hoped for more. Throughout this legislative process, they’ve called for changes to further promote social equity and eliminate strict penalties for violating the law.
While the bill would give priority for licenses to marginalized communities, advocates are worried that there might not be strict and specific enough criteria to actually ensure that ends up being the case. They also pushed for an amendment to make it so a specific percentage of licenses would be set aside for those communities, but that did not happen.
Monreal, for his part, said ahead of the Chamber of Deputies vote that there “is no problem if they modify the cannabis law, we have no problem.”
“That is their job and their function. And on the return we will review whether or not they are appropriate,” he said, according to a translation. “The idea is to regulate the use of cannabis and not ignore a prohibitionist approach that generated a great social problem in the country.”
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in December that a vote on legalization legislation was delayed due to minor “mistakes” in the proposal.
The legalization bill cleared a joint group of Senate committees prior to the full floor vote in that chamber last year, with some amendments being made after members informally considered and debated the proposal during a virtual hearing.
Members of the Senate’s Justice, Health, and Legislative Studies Committees had approved a prior version of legal cannabis legislation last year as well, but the pandemic delayed consideration of the issue. Sen. Julio Ramón Menchaca Salazar of the MORENA party said in April that legalizing cannabis could fill treasury coffers at a time when the economy is recovering from the health crisis.
As lawmakers work to advance the reform legislation, there’s been a more lighthearted push to focus attention on the issue by certain members and activists. That push has mostly involved planting and gifting marijuana.
Late last year, Sánchez Cordero, then a top administration official, was gifted a cannabis plant by senator on the Senate floor, and she said she’d be making it a part of her personal garden.
A different lawmaker gave Sánchez Cordero, a marijuana joint on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies in 2019.
Cannabis made another appearance in the legislature last year, when Sen. Jesusa Rodríguez of the MORENA party decorated her desk with a marijuana plant.
Drug policy reform advocates have also been cultivating hundreds of marijuana plants in front of the Senate, putting pressure on legislators to make good on their pledge to advance legalization.
Virginia Election Outcome Endangers Marijuana Legalization Rollout

The future of legal cannabis in Virginia is even more uncertain after an election last week that replaced the commonwealth’s pro-legalization Democratic governor with a Republican who is skeptical about the issue and gave the GOP control of the state House of Delegates.
Possession, personal use and home cultivation will remain legal under a law that already took effect in July, but Democrats’ plan to establish a regulatory framework for commercial production and sales of cannabis products is now in their political opponents’ hands.
The election’s outcome raises the question of whether Republicans will torpedo efforts to establish a legal retail cannabis system entirely—which legalization proponents say would keep consumers locked into what they say is the nation’s fourth-largest illicit marijuana market—or instead seek to negotiate with Democrats to create and regulate a legal industry on their own terms.
“The question isn’t legalization. We’ve already enacted that. Now we have the other side of the legalization equation,” Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director of Virginia NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “We haven’t enacted the other major policy components, which are consumer safety and public safety, and those come from implementing a regulatory structure.”
Even if GOP leaders agree to advance some form of legal sales regulations, the change in political control could also scrap Democrats’ effort to build racial and social equity programs into the market. Earlier this year, Republicans broadly opposed measures aimed at addressing the disproportionate impact of the drug war, for example by reserving some business licenses for people who attended historically Black colleges or universities or who were previously convicted of low-level cannabis offenses. Democratic proposals also would have offered technical assistance and low- or no-interest loans to equity applicants as well as created a state Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund to support communities harmed by the drug war. Those components are now in question.
So far, GOP leaders haven’t said much about their intentions, other than pointing out that Democrats may have missed their opportunity.
“They have a framework of things they would like do, but they didn’t have the guts to go ahead and do it when they had the chance,” said Del. Todd Gilbert (R), the current minority leader and a likely leader of the GOP majority next session, told local public news station WHRO. “The General Assembly is left with trying to figure out a path forward in terms of how to deal with that issue.”
“We’re going to have to fix all that and we’re going to have to work with the Democrat Senate to fix all that,” he added.
Gilbert’s office didn’t respond to an email sent by Marijuana Moment seeking more details on his party’s intentions.
Democrats will maintain a narrow majority in the state Senate, members of which were not up for reelection this year.
Lawmakers passed Virginia’s current legalization law in April along party lines, with not a single Republican voting in favor of the bill on the floor of the Senate or Assembly, which at the time were both controlled by Democrats. The policy change legalized possession of up to an ounce of cannabis by adults 21 and older, as well as personal cultivation of up to four plants at home and sharing between adults. Records for a variety of misdemeanor cannabis crimes were also automatically sealed.
Retail sales were expected to begin under the new law in early 2024, but all that hinged on lawmakers coming back to the table in next year’s legislative session to finalize the details—things like how licensing would work, what products would be allowed and how social equity would factor into licensing or revenue decisions.
While the bill gave tentative answers to many of those questions, the regulatory provisions included a reenactment clause, meaning the next legislature would sign off on the details before anything would actually be set in stone. With the shift in control of state government, however, Pedini said the earlier proposal is now effectively off the table.
“Because the votes were entirely along party lines, it doesn’t appear at this time there’s a path either in the House or the Senate for such a bill to succeed in the 2022 General Assembly,” they said. “We had a clear path to expedite adult-use retail sales and new cannabusiness licensing, but it’s not clear that that path exists at this time.”
To lead the commonwealth, Virginia voters chose Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, who in April said he’s “never met anybody who habitually used marijuana and was successful.”
In May he described legalization as “another problem that’s going to be dumped at my feet” should he be elected.
Youngkin was called out by The Washington Post this summer for falsely claiming that “every single state” to have legalized marijuana has fallen short on revenue projections.
The governor-elect will replace outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam (D), whose administration played an active role in crafting the legalization legislation. He pushed for personal use, cultivation and sharing among adults to become legal immediately rather than in 2024, as in earlier versions of the bill. “I personally don’t think we should be arresting or penalizing somebody for something we’re getting ready to legalize,” the governor said in an interview at the time.
Northam was ineligible to run for re-election because Virginia prevents governors from serving consecutive terms.
Youngkin’s challenger, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), made legal cannabis a part of his campaign platform. “The vast majority of Virginians support legal cannabis,” he tweeted in July, “but extreme Republicans are determined to make it illegal again.”
Youngkin’s campaign rejected the claim. “False,” his campaign replied. “Glenn Youngkin will not seek to repeal it.”
Glenn Youngkin will not seek to repeal it; his focus will be on building a rip-roaring economy with more jobs and better wages, restoring excellence in education, and reestablishing Virginia’s commitment to public safety.
— Team Youngkin (@TeamYoungkin) July 2, 2021

Younkin beat out McAuliffe in last week’s election, collecting 50.6 percent of the vote. McAuliffe won 48.6 percent, while Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding picked up 0.7 percent.
While Pedini warned against putting too much stock in politician’s campaign-trail promises, some existing medical marijuana companies in Virginia seem to be taking Youngkin at his word.
“With Governor-elect Youngkin previously stating that he would uphold the will of the people, and focus on creating a ‘rip-roaring economy,’ we are fully confident that he and the people of Virginia will continue to make progress,” said Jim Cacioppo, the CEO, chairman and founder of multistate cannabis company Jushi Holdings, said in a statement.
While Republicans could prevent the creation of a legal marijuana market or even attempt to undo legalization completely, it’s also possible they could craft a bill more to their liking. Though Republicans opposed this year’s legalization bill, pushback by many GOP lawmakers centered on particular provisions, such a change by Northam that would’ve allowed regulators to revoke a company’s business license if it interfered with union organizing efforts or failed to pay prevailing wage.
The advocacy group Marijuana Justice, which opposed the Democrats’ legalization plan earlier this year on the grounds it failed to adequately advance issues of social and racial justice, told Marijuana Moment it will “continue to oppose bills that do not include equity and we will work with legislators that understand the importance of putting people over partisanship.”
“The results of this election showed that we have to be flexible and agile and shift our political strategy,” said Chelsea Higgs Wise, the group’s executive director. “We are unsure what the new priorities of the new administration will be about legalization but our goals of centering those impacted by disproportionately enforced marijuana crimes has not changed.”
The past year has seen Republicans in a number of U.S. states take lead roles on cannabis legalization and other reform measures, though often with different priorities than their Democratic counterparts. Some have pushed for lower taxes and simple business regulations, for example, while others have balked at progressive efforts to establish programs to invest in communities most harmed by the drug war.
Democrats in Virginia, who still control the government until the newly elected Republicans take office, could technically attempt to push through their own plan before the year is over in a new special session, but that’s widely seen as a long shot. Some centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Chap Petersen, already opposed legalization earlier this year and are sending signals they intend to play a stronger role in their party in the coming session.
“Historically Democrats have been disinclined to call lame-duck sessions,” said Pedini, who is also NORML’s national development director. “However when it comes to cannabis, they would certainly have public support on their side.”
More than two-thirds of adults in Virginia (68 percent) support marijuana legalization, according to a poll released in February, including a slim majority (51 percent) of Republican voters.
At one point earlier this year, voters would have had a chance to weigh in themselves. A provision in the Senate version of the legalization bill would have put a legalization referendum on the state ballot, but it was removed from the final bill before passage.
Not only could such a vote have allowed voters to have a say on the cannabis question directly, but some speculated that it could’ve boosted election turnout last week, especially among younger voters, potentially leading to a different result.
Sen. Scott Surovell (D), who was not up for reelection last week, tweeted, “Just imagine how different turnout would have been in the 18-29 y/o cohort if we had put an advisory referendum on recreational marijuana sales on the ballot.”
Just imagine how different turnout would have been in the 18-29 y/o cohort if we had put an advisory referendum on recreational marijuana sales on the ballot as proposed by the Senate @ACLUVA @MarijuanaPolicy @NORML
— Senator Scott Surovell (@ssurovell) November 5, 2021

For now, legislative conversations will continue—even if the outcomes are more uncertain. As Pedini pointed out, the legislature’s Cannabis Oversight Commission has a subcommittee meeting scheduled for November 10 focusing on expedited sales.
Another Poll Shows Majority Support For Marijuana Legalization, Including Most Republicans

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan

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