Q Poll: Americans Oppose Sessions' Bid To Crack Down on Pot-Happy States
A majority of Americans believe marijuana use should be made legal, and that federal laws criminalizing the drug should not be enforced in states that have legalized its medical or recreational use, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.
The poll comes just one week after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions unraveled Obama-era guidelines instructing federal agencies to defer to states’ policies on marijuana. Sessions, an avowed opponent of legal pot, authorized federal prosecutors to crack down on marijuana as they see fit, including in states that have legalized the drug. By federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous designation.
In Thursday’s poll, 58 percent of Americans said they believe marijuana use in general should be made legal, down slightly from 61 percent approval last August when Quinnipiac last polled the question. Seventy percent of Democrats supported legalization, compared to 33 percent of Republicans.
Seventy percent of Americans said they would oppose efforts to enforce federal laws criminalizing marijuana in states that have decriminalized its use. While an overwhelming number of Democrats opposed the approach championed by Sessions, the question cleaved Republicans. Forty-two percent said they supported a federal crackdown, and 47 percent said they opposed it.
In Connecticut, lawmakers have yet to legalize marijuana’s recreational use. A Sacred Heart University poll last October found 70 percent of Connecticut residents either “strongly” or “somewhat” support legalizing the drug for adults and taxing it. Because Connecticut does not have a mechanism to legalize marijuana with a ballot question, any resolution would have to pass through the legislature.
Vin Candelora, a Republican from North Branford, pointed out that states that have successfully legalized recreational marijuana — Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts — did so with ballots. Most attempts by