Majority of Montana Residents Say They Will Vote "Yes" to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis
The split comes in at 49 percent saying they will vote for legalization, while just 39 percent say they’ll vote against it.
Published on October 15, 2020

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With a pair of sweeping reform initiatives that would legalize marijuana on the Montana ballot next month, a new survey shows that voters are planning to vote in favor of ending pot prohibition.

The state’s complicated laws necessitate that legalization must be covered by two measures. One is statutory adjustment to enable taxing and regulating weed sales; the other is a constitutional amendment to ban anyone under 21 from purchasing weed.

The poll, conducted by political analysts at Montana State University (MSU), surveyed 1,787 Montana residents between September 14 to October 2, and it simplified the issue into a single question: “The state ballot will ask about legalizing recreational marijuana in Montana. Will you vote to support or oppose legalization?”

49 percent of likely voters said they will vote for legalization, while 39 percent said they plan to vote against the reform.

Not surprisingly, 70 percent of Democrats reported favoring legal weed versus just 27 percent of Republicans. Voters identified as Independents came out in support of legalization at 59 percent.

Majority samples of all age groups said they’d for legalization, with the exception of those over 60 (get with the times, grandma and grandpa!). Among voters between the ages of 18 and 29, legal weed is favored by a margin of three-to-one.

“The fate of marijuana legalization comes down to three factors: how the ‘don’t know’ respondents split, independent voters, and the presence of younger voters at the polls,” the official MSU write-up of the results stated. “Right now, 49 percent of respondents overall indicate they will vote to legalize—a 10-point lead over those indicating they will not… With a high voter turnout, Montana will likely legalize marijuana, assuming voters understand that both initiatives must pass and vote accordingly.”

“I think it is important to think about a ballot as a complete organic entity,” said MSU political science professor David Parker. “Young voters strongly are in favor of the measure, and they tend to be Democratic leaning.”

If the measures pass, residents will legally be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, as well as to grow four plants and for seedlings in their private residences. 

Recreational pot will be taxed at 20 percent, with tax on medical marijuana being reduced from two percent to one percent. Weed tax revenues would be directed toward public lands, veteran services, drug misuse treatment programs, and overall healthcare

The Montana Department of Revenue would regulate the legal weed marketplace and issue licenses beginning on January 1, 2022.

New Approach Montana, the campaign responsible for the reform initiatives, is continuing to work hard to secure even more undecided voters to choose in favor of cannabis policy sanity next month. Here’s hoping the Treasure State strikes pure green on November 3.

Mike McPadden
Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo
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