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Marijuana on the mind

Caitlin Rickard crickard@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:39 PM

Editor’s Note: This is part one in a two part series exploring Tennesseans thoughts found in the recent Vanderbilt poll, as well as legislative issues the state faces. 

Check Saturday’s issue of The Democrat for part two that will investigate a variety of different issues and matters from the judicial selection process to a law that passed that allows for the use of the electric chair on death row inmates if drugs used for lethal injection aren’t available.

A recent Vanderbilt University poll found that a majority of Tennesseans is in favor of legalizing marijuana.

The poll was taken between April 28 and May 14 and polled more than 1,500 residents. The poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International using an equal split of landline and cell phones, is done twice each year—before the upcoming legislative session and after it ends—to determine how closely the results of the legislative session match with voters’ expectations and priorities.

Back in March, lawmakers in the General Assembly rejected medical marijuana legislation, however, according to the Vanderbilt poll and recent voters’ opinions, the subject could resurface with growing support next year.

According to results of the poll, 76 percent of Tennesseans approved of legalizing marijuana to some degree. Within those results, 44 percent said they were in favor of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, while another 32 percent said they were in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational or personal use. 

The other 22 percent said marijuana should not be legal at all. Among those who said marijuana should not be legal 41 percent were 65 or older, while 12 percent were between 18 and 35 years old.

The remaining 2 percent said they didn’t know or had no answer.

With an overwhelming majority of Tennesseans in favor of legalizing marijuana in some form and almost half of those polled favoring marijuana for medicinal purposes, it’s no surprise that local Wilson County residents also had something to say about the issue that’s lighting a fire across the state. Several residents said they were in favor of legalizing medicinal marijuana.

The Vanderbilt poll also asked respondents their opinions on other issues, such as Common Core, the “Tennessee Promise,” guns in public parks and a new abortion amendment to the state constitution set to be on the November ballot, among other things.

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