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Poll: N.J. residents more supportive of marijuana decriminalization than ever before

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Support among N.J. residents for decriminalizing marijuana is higher than ever before.
Support among N.J. residents for decriminalizing marijuana is higher than ever before. - ()

According to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Tuesday, support among New Jersey residents for decriminalizing marijuana is higher than ever before.

The poll found that an overwhelming majority, some 66 percent, of residents believe penalties for marijuana use should be reduced. That’s up from 58 percent in a 2011 poll and 40 percent of adults in a 1972 poll.

In contrast, 29 percent of residents reported that they oppose decriminalization.

However, just 49 percent support full-on marijuana legalization with 48 percent still opposed to the idea.

The poll results come roughly a month after state Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) introduced legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana in New Jersey, much like what has already been done in Colorado and Washington.

“New Jersey voters reflect the national trend toward less severe attitudes about marijuana,” poll director and Rutgers University professor David Redlawsk said. “During the 1970s and into 1981, there was some movement on the issue but little policy change so we didn’t poll on it again for 30 years. When we finally asked again about marijuana in 2011, we saw signs of liberalization, a trend that has only accelerated since then.”

Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly vowed to oppose any bill paving the way for legal recreational marijuana use.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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