Utahns Overwhelmingly Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana, Oppose Recreational Use

icons V1 06Two-thirds of Utahns want to legalize medical marijuana prescribed by doctors, a new UtahPolicy poll finds.

Expect a medical marijuana bill to be introduced in the 2017 Legislature. Such a bill failed in the 2016 general session after LDS Church leaders warned that such a measure could do more harm than good.

UPD pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds in a new survey that even more Utahns oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use – or making its use as legal as alcohol or cigarette products.

Jones finds:

  • 63 percent of Utahns support legalizing medical marijuana prescribed by licensed doctors.
  • 35 percent oppose, and 2 percent don’t know.

Just the opposite is true if asked if marijuana should be legalized for recreational use – as is the case in Colorado and several other states.

  • 77 percent oppose recreational marijuana.
  • 22 percent of Utahns favor that, and 1 percent don’t know.


State Sen. Mark Madsen, L-Saratoga Springs, was a Republican lawmaker when his SB73 failed in the 2016 general session – causing Madsen to say he was leaving the U.S. because a man couldn’t really be free here.

He later officially changed his party membership from Republican to Libertarian.

Madsen’s House co-sponsor, Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, promised to revive the effort in January’s 2017 session.

Froerer recently told UtahPolicy that he believed his 2017 bill would be ready for public viewing in a month or so.

Madsen substantially changed his bill as he fought to get it through last session’s Senate.

He was dissatisfied with his compromises, and harshly criticized those who stood in the way of what he termed helping those with painful medical conditions that could benefit from medical marijuana.

Interestingly enough, Jones finds in his new survey that “very active” members of the LDS Church still favor legalizing medical marijuana, even though church leaders warn against it.

  • 50 percent of Utahns who self-identified as being “very active” in the LDS Church favor legalizing medical marijuana.
  • 47 percent oppose legalization; 3 percent of “very active” Mormons are undecided.

Somewhat active Mormons, Mormons who have left their church and those of other religious faiths all favor legalizing medical marijuana to even a greater degree.

Those with no religious faith support legalization of medical marijuana, 58-38 percent.

As may be expected, Utah Republicans are more hesitant on medical marijuana than Democrats.

  • Republicans oppose medical marijuana, 49-48 percent.
  • Democrats favor it, 90-10 percent.
  • Political independents favor legalization of medical marijuana, 72-26 percent.

Hey, Utah Democrats even favor the recreational use of marijuana – but just barely.

Jones finds Democrats support legalizing all uses of marijuana, 51-48 percent.

Don’t worry, that’s not happening. The Legislature is controlled by Republicans, and Utah Republicans oppose recreational use of marijuana, 92-9 percent.

The 2016 legislative battle had many side arguments. But one main issue was how much THC – the “get high” element in the marijuana plant – could be included in a dose of medical marijuana.

Utah already allows marijuana extract oil to be used in the treatment of limited conditions.

But Madsen, who himself suffers from chronic back pain – and traveled to Colorado to self-test marijuana on that condition – says thousands of Utahns could be helped through the proper medical use of the drug.

The concern expressed by some is that Utah could become another California, which was known for liberal drug prescription use of medical marijuana.

At one point, Madsen whittled down his bill to limit the number of doctors who could prescribe medical marijuana.

 But it was all to no avail – after a watered down version of SB73 passed the Senate; it was killed in the House.

Jones polled 605 Utahns from Sept. 1-9. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.