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  • Christopher D.

Most Americans Support Marijuana Legalization


As more states across the U.S. have legalized marijuana for medical or adult-use purposes in recent years, public opinion has rapidly swung in favor of ending prohibition. Multiple national polls show a solid majority of Americans now back comprehensive cannabis policy reforms on some level. This evolution in viewpoints is also playing out in Louisiana, where residents are increasingly backing legal, regulated access to marijuana.


While The Pelican State currently only allows medical marijuana for qualifying patients, the growing acceptance of cannabis nationwide has reignited discussion around potentially expanding Louisiana's program or exploring full adult-use legalization down the road. Let's explore the current landscape of public opinion and policy in Louisiana compared to the rest of the United States.


National Support for Marijuana Legalization Solidifies  

Over the past decade, public approval of marijuana legalization in the U.S. has steadily increased from around 50% in favor to nearly 70% based on the latest national polls:


  • Gallup Poll (October 2022) - 68% of Americans say marijuana should be legal, the highest percentage recorded since Gallup first asked the question in 1969. Only 32% opposed legalization.

  • Quinnipiac Poll (April 2022) - 70% of respondents said they support legalizing recreational marijuana nationwide for adults over age 21.

  • Associated Press/NORC Poll (April 2022) - 85% backed allowing marijuana for medical uses, while 63% supported legalizing recreational adult-use.

  • Pew Research Poll (April 2022) - 88% of Americans believe marijuana should be legal in some form, with 59% supporting legalization for both recreational and medical use.


Breaking it down further, Gallup's latest survey found majority approval across all major demographics and political affiliations:


  • 83% support among adults under 35

  • Democrats (76%) and Independents (71%) overwhelmingly in favor

  • Even 50% of Republicans expressed support for ending prohibition 


The clear takeaway is that while there used to be stark partisan and generational divides on the issue of marijuana legalization, it has become a mainstream position embraced by most Americans.


Rising Support Among Southern Residents

Recent polling demonstrates a swiftly growing acceptance of marijuana legalization in the Southern United States, including states like Louisiana, particularly for medical purposes. 


A notable 2022 survey conducted by Citizen Data revealed a 62% support rate across Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina for legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use, with individual states also showing majority support: 65% in Georgia, according to a University of Georgia poll; 57% in North Carolina, as per a Cygnal poll; and in Louisiana, a Southern Media & Opinion Research poll indicated that 60% of respondents favored legalization of marijuana for any use.


Furthermore, the support for medical marijuana legalization specifically appears even stronger. In Louisiana, a 2022 Nexus Analytics Research poll found that 73% of voters are in favor of legal medical marijuana, while a Winthrop University poll the same year showed a 72% approval rate for medical cannabis in South Carolina. 


These figures highlight a significant shift towards embracing marijuana legalization in the Southern states, showcasing a particularly strong consensus around the benefits and acceptance of medical marijuana.


Support Grows Among Louisiana Residents

Over the past few years, surveys have clearly illustrated the growing public backing in Louisiana for relaxing laws around marijuana. A pivotal shift seems to have occurred in 2021, with majority support reaching a tipping point.


Consider these recent polling results from within the state:


  • 2022 Southern Media Poll - 60% of residents supported making marijuana completely legal for any use

  • 2021 Louisiana State University Poll - 54% backed legal recreational marijuana for adults over age 21  

  • 2019 LSU Poll - Only 39% were in favor of adult-use, highlighting the rapid evolution of opinion


There are some differences demographically to consider as well. An August 2022 report from Louisiana State University's Public Policy Research Lab shed some light:


  • Younger voters showed stronger support for legalization (71% for ages 18-29, 65% for 30-44)

  • Only 32% of seniors age 65+ supported legal adult-use

  • Democrats (75%) were much more supportive than Republicans (37%)


Even Louisiana Republicans showed majority approval (54%) for legal medical marijuana according to the 2022 LSU report — a key consideration given the state's conservative leanings.  


Louisiana's Evolving Medical Marijuana Program

Since first legalizing access to medical marijuana in 2015, Louisiana has made incremental policy adjustments to improve its regulated program and allow more patients to obtain cannabis products.


Key milestones include:


  • 2015 - SB 143 passes allowing physicians to recommend cannabis for qualifying conditions

  • 2019 - Louisiana's first medical marijuana dispensary opens in Baton Rouge after years of delay

  • 2020 - Louisiana expands its list of qualifying conditions to include PTSD, Autism and more

  • 2021 - Additional changes allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana more freely

  • 2022 - Lawmakers approve measure allowing outdoor cannabis cultivation by licensed growers


To date, the state's medical marijuana program covers over 20 conditions and has registered well over 40,000 patients. However, there remain obstacles in accessing legal cannabis products including high costs, supply issues, and lack of coverage by most insurance plans.


Many see the program's slowroll as necessitating broader marijuana reforms. In the 2022 LSU poll, 56% of respondents felt legalizing recreational marijuana would help improve the state's medical program.


Why Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, residents diagnosed with any of the over 20 approved qualifying medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, or chronic pain, can derive significant benefits and protections by obtaining a state issued medical marijuana card. 


This card allows for legal possession, offering immunity from criminal prosecution for possessing limited amounts of medical cannabis products within the state, where any other possession remains a criminal offense. It ensures access to regulated products since only state licensed medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted to dispense tested, regulated cannabis products to approved patients and caregivers, guaranteeing quality and consistency. 


Moreover, patients enrolled in the legal medical marijuana program can obtain these products tax-free, unlike recreational sales which are subjected to high taxation rates. The program also expands treatment options, allowing medical professionals to recommend cannabis, thereby widening the treatment scope beyond traditional medications or therapies for many conditions. 


Patients who have joined the program often report significant improvements in managing chronic symptoms and an enhanced overall quality of life, highlighting the meaningful therapeutic benefits of cannabis, coupled with the mitigation of legal risks, for those facing debilitating medical challenges.


The Future of Cannabis Reform in Louisiana

While Louisianans seem to be growing more open to the idea of adult-use recreational marijuana legalization, state officials have thus far proceeded cautiously, opting to focus on fortifying the existing medical marijuana program. 


Continued shifts in public opinion combined with the evolving policy landscape in surrounding states may eventually elevate the pressure for more significant reforms:


  • Medical Expansion: Adding new approved conditions and improving affordability, supply and insurance coverage remain top priorities.

  • Decriminalization: Louisiana lawmakers are contemplating bills to further reduce penalties for simple possession and allow expungement of prior convictions.  

  • Adult-Use Legalization: As more states like Arkansas, Missouri and Florida potentially join neighbors like Mississippi in legalizing recreational marijuana, debate will intensify around regulating adult-use to generate tax revenue and economic activity.  


Several bills were filed in the 2023 Louisiana legislative session proposing varying degrees of marijuana reforms, continuing a trend of incremental liberalization. 


With decreasing stigma, evolving regional policies, and the prospect of meaningful economic benefits, lawmakers will face growing pressure from constituents to advance more progressive cannabis laws. Louisiana could conceivably join the growing list of states that have ended full prohibition within the next few years if current trajectories hold.


Get Your Medical Marijuana Card Today!

Medical marijuana is legal in the State of Louisiana, and you can get your medical marijuana card today! It is now easier than ever to get your card, so if you think marijuana may benefit you, what are you waiting for?


If you aren’t sure if you qualify for a card, we can help! Just give us a call and we can answer any questions you may have.


Marijuana is an excellent alternative medicine that offers natural, safe, and legal relief for an array of symptoms. If you think marijuana could help some of your symptoms, what are you waiting for?


Schedule an evaluation online today with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors to see if you qualify for your medical card. Not only will you discuss your condition and options, but you can do so through a virtual appointment in the safety of your own home!


 

Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.


At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.


Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

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