A new poll shows Pennsylvanians support medical weed by a wide margin, though they strongly oppose legalization.
According to the survey by Franklin & Marshall College, 84 percent of the state’s registered voters said they don’t object to medical marijuana. That’s in line with many other states, where support for MMJ routinely tops 80 percent.
Fifty-nine percent of the voters who said they don’t have a problem with medical pot also said they strongly favor its use. Meanwhile, just 12 percent of overall respondents said they oppose the medical use of weed.
But the strong support for MMJ doesn’t mean Pennsylvania voters want to legalize recreational pot anytime soon. Only 35 percent said they favor legalization, among the lowest rates in the country, while 57 percent said they oppose the idea.
Support for medical weed is at an all-time high in the state, according to the poll. In 2006, 20 percent of voters said they opposed it. In January, Franklin & Marshall reported 81 percent in favor of MMJ.
The poll comes in the wake of a unanimous vote by a state Senate committee to allow medicinal pot for patients with debilitating conditions. But MMJ is a long way from law in Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, favors a severely restricted approach to medical weed that would make the drug available only to certain children with severe epilepsy. He said he would veto anything more inclusive. And the Republicans who control the House have said they won’t pass the bill in the Senate.
The restrictive approach is highly favored by conservative Republicans, who have enacted so-called CBD laws in almost a dozen states. CBD is a chemical component of marijuana thought to calm seizures in children, and the pot that contains it is typically low in THC, the chemical that gets users high.
Parents whose children have seizure disorders have united to press for access to the drug across the country.
Many marijuana proponents fear CBD laws, which bar any other type of medical use, will slow the progress of reform. But in some places, the pressure of parent groups has helped to spur more inclusive MMJ laws.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Michael Folmer, a Republican, sponsored the bill that would legalize medicinal cannabis. He said the legislation has gotten as far as it has because of parents with epileptic children.
Pollsters surveyed 502 registered voters. The poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.