TB&P: Poll: Support grows for medical marijuana expansion

Read the full story at Talk Business & Politics.

Despite a slow rollout of medical cannabis in Arkansas, public support for the industry is growing.

A new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll of likely statewide voters shows the issue has gained momentum since its passage with 53% support in November 2016. In a survey conducted June 9-10, 2020, voters voiced a double-digit increase in approval.

Q: Do you support or oppose the use of medical marijuana in Arkansas?

67.5% Support
20.5% Oppose
12% Unsure

Arkansas lawmakers and regulators were slow to develop and implement the rules for issuing cultivation and dispensary licenses, and the process was hampered with a series of legal actions. Eventually, licenses were issued and over the past year more distribution outlets have opened.

As of June 3, the state of Arkansas reported that $86.38 million in medical marijuana sales have taken place cumulatively. At least 40% of first year medical marijuana sales occurred since March 1, according to state officials.

“We wanted to test attitudes on whether or not the legalization of medical cannabis is gaining or losing support. It appears that more Arkansans are supportive of the issue now that it is in the marketplace,” said Roby Brock, Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief. “We also wanted to see if there is support for making medical marijuana more available through the issuance of expanded licenses and are voters ready to legalize recreational marijuana.”

The latest survey of 869 statewide likely voters was taken on Tuesday, June 9 and Wednesday, June 10 and has a margin of error of +/-3.3%. The following question tested potential expansion of marijuana in Arkansas. It was only asked of the 67.5% who supported medical marijuana.

Q: Recently, there have been significant increases in both the amount of medical marijuana sold in Arkansas and the number of medical marijuana patients with qualifying conditions. Knowing this, would you support:

23.5% Increasing the number of licensed medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries
19% Legalizing recreational marijuana in Arkansas
46.5% Both
11% Unsure

“It would appear there is support for increasing licenses for medical marijuana,” Brock said. “Also, among the two-thirds of those supporting medical marijuana, a majority support recreational marijuana, which could be on the November ballot.”

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