The residents of Louisiana are sending mixed signals about their support for legalizing marijuana in their state. The LSU Public Policy Research Lab recently released their Louisiana Survey for 2015, the title of which was “Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage and Recreational Marijuana Legalization Continues Slow Decline“.
The survey is showing that support for recreational marijuana has increased slightly from 42% to 45% while the opposition has dropped similarly from 56% to 52%. Overall, the Louisiana is still against legalizing recreational marijuana 52% vs 45%.
The support for medical marijuana shows an interesting trend that runs contradictory to the trend in recreational marijuana (and the nation). While Louisiana is still overall in favor of medical marijuana by a margin of 60% (favor) vs 39% (oppose), the percentage that favor medical marijuana has seen a fairly significant decrease in support from 79% who supported it in 2014 to just 60% who support it now. Predictably, the percentage who oppose medical marijuana in Louisiana has increased from just 19% in 2014 to 39% in 2015.
We have extracted the graph from the study showing this interesting trend in Louisiana’s support for marijuana:
For comparison, support for medical marijuana in 3 key swing states, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, were all above 80%, with a slight majority also favoring recreational marijuana. A user of marijuana would face a very different social and political landscape in Louisiana.
The survey’s Executive Summary of The Louisiana Survey 2015, Chapter 5 is quoted below:
Support in Louisiana for legally recognizing same-sex marriages continues to lag significantly behind
national opinion. However, the lead opponents (51%) holds over supporters (42%) has shrunk by nearly
half over the past two years. Additional findings about what Louisiana residents think of same-sex
marriage and other social issues include:
- Adult Louisiana residents between the ages of 18 and 29 are the only age group for whom a
majority (59%) favors allowing same-sex couples to legally marry in the state. Residents age 65 or
older are the most opposed (62%).
- Support for legalizing marijuana for personal use (45%) continues to lag opposition (52%), but the
gap has narrowed by half since 2013.
- The opposite pattern holds for legalizing marijuana for medical use – supporters (60%) outnumber
opponents (39%), but this lead has shrunk considerably from a year ago.
- Only 18 to 29 year old residents have a majority supporting legalization of marijuana for personal
use (68%), but residents 65 years or older are the only age group to oppose legalization for medical
- Even if marijuana remains illegal, two thirds of the public (67%) say that people convicted of
possessing small amounts should not serve jail time. This share jumps to 79% when respondents
are told the costs of incarcerating these individuals.
The Louisiana Survey tracks trends in state residents’ perceptions about the state of the state. Additionally,
the 2015 edition taps the public’s views of pressing contemporary issues such as strategies for addressing
budget shortfalls, tax incentives for economic development, the Common Core State Standards, cost
controls for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care
Act, race relations and law enforcement, same-sex marriage, and legalization/decriminalization of
marijuana. To execute the survey, Louisiana State University’s Public Policy Research Lab conducted a livecaller,
dual frame survey (landline and cellphone samples) of 980 adult residents of the state. The total
sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.
This is the final in a series of releases about findings from the 2015 Louisiana Survey
Louisiana is traditionally a conservative state but the numbers and trends for marijuana support for this state seems unusual. What is your opinion? Why does the Louisiana public lag behind the nation in support for legal cannabis?