Poll: Many Ohio residents support legalizing marijuana for medicine, recreation

by MARC KOVAC | CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published:

Columbus -- A majority of Ohioans questioned as part of a new poll said they support legalizing marijuana use for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Of the 1,370 registered voters surveyed earlier this month by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, 87 percent said they support medical marijuana, while 51 percent said adults should be allowed to posses small amounts of the drug for personal use.

Though 55 percent of voters said they had never tried marijuana, 51 percent said they did not think it leads to the use of other drugs, and 76 percent said they would feel either "somewhat" or "very" uncomfortable riding in a car driven by someone who had smoked or consumed a moderate amount of marijuana.

Forty-five percent of Ohioans said Colorado's legalization of recreational marijuana was bad for that state's image, versus 37 percent who said the opposite.

"Ohioans' views of marijuana are complicated," Peter Brown, assistant director of the polling institute, said in a released statement. "Twice as many voters think alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, and about half the state's voters think the two are equally harmful. Ohioans narrowly favor legalizing pot for personal use, with women opposed while men support the idea. Almost nine in 10 in both genders think marijuana should be legal for medical uses. No one should be surprised that support for legalization is strongest among younger voters."

Connecticut-based Quinnipiac regularly gauges Ohioan's views of candidates and issues. Its most recent survey has a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.

Among other results, 50 percent of those questioned said they support same-sex marriage, versus 44 percent who did not. Younger respondents (those age 18-29) were more supportive (71 percent) than voters older than 65 (59 percent opposed).

On the issue of abortion, 34 percent of voters said the procedure should be legal in most cases, with another 19 percent saying it should be legal in all cases.

Twenty-seven percent said it should be illegal in most cases, and 14 percent said it should be illegal in all cases.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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