Most Utahns favor legalizing medical marijuana prescribed by licensed doctors, a new UtahPolicy poll finds.
Some other states have allowed for the use of marijuana – in some form or another – to help ill patients, most often to alleviate the side effects of cancer chemotherapy.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds in a new survey that 61 percent of Utahns favor legalizing medical marijuana.
Thirty-six percent oppose such legalization while only 2 percent don’t know.
State Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, suffers from chronic back pain. He traveled to Colorado a year ago to legally test whether medical marijuana could help him.
Madsen returned to say it appeared to do so.
He introduced a bill into the 2015 Legislature on the subject but found its careful drafting would take more time.
SB259 failed by one vote in the Senate near session’s end.
Madsen, a staunch conservative by anyone’s measure, is again preparing a bill on legalizing marijuana for the upcoming 2016 Legislature.
Other lawmakers may attempt legislation in the same area.
And Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said he expects a comprehensive medical marijuana bill to be introduced in the upcoming session, with the possibility that it may pass.
Jones’ new poll shows most Utahns are for it – as they may know someone who has had chemotherapy and suffered from severe nausea and other unpleasant symptoms.
Interestingly enough, Jones finds that older Utahns are more in favor of medical marijuana than younger Utahns – perhaps because they have faced such medical challenges, or have had loved ones or friends who have.
Those over 65 years old favor medical marijuana, 61-37 percent; those 55-64 favor it, 61-35; those 45-54 favor it, 62-36 percent.
However, those 18-24 oppose legalizing medical marijuana, 51-46 percent.
Marijuana use has both political and religious/moral overtones.
-- 48 percent of “very active” Mormons favor legalization for medical purposes, 50 percent oppose.
-- Catholics greatly support such use, 82-18 percent.
-- Protestants support it, 65-30 percent.
-- While those with no religion favor legalization, 87-7 percent.
-- Republicans are split, 49 percent favor legalizing medical marijuana, 48 percent oppose, 3 percent don’t know.
-- Democrats (are we really surprised?) favor it, 86-13 percent, with only 1 percent don’t know.
-- While two-thirds of political independents favor legalization, 32 percent oppose and 3 percent don’t know.
Jones polled 624 adults from Nov. 5-14, with a margin of error of 3.92 percent.