Online Poll Suggests Pot Legalization Imminent in North Dakota

Since officials announced that the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes would make the ballot this November, an Inforum website poll, conducted this week, sought to find out just how much support such an initiative has among voters in the state. Turns out, an overwhelming majority of North Dakotans favor the move, by as much as a near four-to-one margin.

The poll, hosted by Polco, showed that of 624 participants, a whopping 514, or 82.4 percent, support the legalization of adult-use weed in North Dakota, where voters will cast their ballots on the question on November 6 this year. When narrowed to residents of North Dakota specifically, which accounted for 237 polltakers, 188 of them, or 79.3 percent, favor Measure 3. This shows only 20.7 percent opposed.

Inforum, which is the first newspaper nationally to start using Polco on a regular basis, asked, “Should North Dakota Legalize Recreational Marijuana?” after Al Jaeger, Secretary of State, announced on Monday, August 13, that there were sufficient signatures collected by activists to put the measure on the Election Day ballot.

Polco is an online polling platform for civic communication that municipalities, community organizations, and local leaders use to get valid feedback from citizens about specific initiatives or topics. In order for participants to take part in its polls, they first need to register to cast a ballot. The platform collets no personal data, but participants can further community discussions by commenting.

Results of the North Dakota Poll

  • Both sexes support legalizing weed recreationally and overwhelmingly so. Of the 81 female voters, 60 voted in favor and 21 voted against it. Of the 155 male participants, 127 voted supportively and 28 opposed. There was one vote unknown, but it was also a yes.
  • The issue of marijuana legalization is no longer a red or blue one, since it seems voters from both divides support it.
    • Of the 101 likely Republican votes, 72 were in favor and just 29 against.
    • Of the 69 likely Democrat votes, 59 support it and 10 do not.
    • Of the 64 likely Independent votes, 55 said yes and nine said no.
    • There were two definite Republican voters, one for and one against, as well as one non-partisan vote for yes.
  • All age groups seem to support legalization. The largest age group participating were aged 40-years to 49-years, with the 50-years to 59-years group following closely behind. The 60-years to 69-years and the 30-years to 39-years had an equal number of responses.
    • Of the 50 votes from the 40-years to 49-years group, 39 voted for and 11 voted no.
    • Of the 46 votes from the 50-years to 59-years group, 31 voted supportively and 15 did not.
    • Of the 37 votes from the 30-years to 39-years group, 34 voted yes and three said no.
    • Of the 37 votes from the 60-years to 69-years group, 34 voted in favor and three opposed.

Effect of Legalization on North Dakota

Chair of the North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Dave Owen, believes the poll highly representative of how North Dakotans will vote come November. “It shows the people of North Dakota see that and actually want this,” he explained on Thursday. “We are doing really well across all of these age groups. It shows we get our message out and we talk to people.”

If approved, the measure would change the law to legalize “non-violent marijuana-related activity” for anyone 21-years and older, except for selling weed to children. It also would not impose any limitations on how much a person could grow or possess. It would also allow for the expungement of criminal records for anyone previously convicted of a crime that the measure would now legalize.

On Monday, former Bismarck police officer turned criminal defense attorney in Fargo, Mark Friese, said that the measure is “very broadly written,” that it could provide those charged with non-violent offenses related to marijuana an array of new defenses. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says changing the law could shift issues for law enforcement.

Previously, Stenehjem made clear his stance, “I have said for a long time now that I do not think that if marijuana is legalized in North Dakota we will be healthier or safer.” However, the economic prospects of legalization may well push him over to the other side. Owen also spoke about other benefits, stating it could “create more jobs, provide opportunity for those who had been convicted, and finally get people the medicinal marijuana they have been waiting for.”

Back in 2016, voters in North Dakota voted overwhelmingly to approve medical cannabis. Despite this, medical patients still do not have access to marijuana anywhere in the state. “We believe people in North Dakota want recreational marijuana. We believe they support this,” Owen stated. “There is a reason we have been able to get this far, and I think this poll confirms it.”

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