Received this announcement yesterday but didn’t have time to write about it with all the gun control stuff going on. Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh, NC-based survey group, asked 1,232 West Virginia voters earlier this month how they felt about legalizing marijuana for medical use.
This may or may not surprise you, but 53 percent of people who responded to the survey supported changing state law to allow “seriously and terminally ill” individuals to use medical marijuana with a doctors recommendation.
Forty percent of respondents opposed legalizing pot for medical purposes, and six percent said they weren’t sure.
An overwhelming majority of survey participants — 63 percent — said they believed pot was a safer alternative to the painkiller Oxycontin. Twenty-two percent said Oxycontin was the safer of the two drugs, and 15 percent did not know, or didn’t have an opinion.
West Virginia voters also supported reducing the penalty for simple possession of marijuana (an ounce or less) from up to six months and jails and up to $1,000 in fines to a fine of up to $100 with no jail time or threat of arrest. Forty-nine survey participants supported reducing penalties, 38 percent opposed the move and 13 percent were unsure.
The study surveyed 0.1% of West Virginia’s voting populace. As I’ve been told from people who know more about statistics than me, that’s a significant sample size and would give a 3-4% margin of error.
Respondents were 53-percent female and 47-percent male, and included a wide age range.
If the survey actually does reflect West Virginians’ feelings on the issue, it’s good news for Del. Mike Manypenny, D-Taylor.
According to a Marijuana Policy Project’s press release, Manypenny plans to introduce legislation next month that would legalize pot for medical purposes. Manypenny has done it before, with little success. Last year’s medical marijuana bill died in the House Judiciary Committee.
It’s not difficult to guess where the Marijuana Policy Project stands on the issue.
“West Virginia should not be in the business of arresting and prosecuting seriously ill people who are simply trying to improve their quality of life,” MPP legislative analyst Matt Simon said in a press release.
Simon is a West Virginia native and WVU graduate.