Cincinnati CityBeat

Poll: 9 in 10 Kentuckians Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Another 59 percent of the poll's 1,559 respondents also indicated they supported legalizing marijuana for use "under any circumstances."

CityBeat Staff Feb 5, 2020 13:38 PM

Roberto Valdavia
Nine in 10 respondents to a new poll in Kentucky said they support legalizing medical marijuana in the state.

The annual Kentucky Health Issues Poll is paid for by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Ohio-based Interact for Health. This year's poll, conducted by the University of Cincinnati's Institute for Policy Research and based on responses from 1,559 landline and cellphone users in the Bluegrass State, represents a marked increase in support for marijuana over polls in past years. 

In 2012, for instance, 78 percent of respondents supported medicinal legalization. Support for other forms of marijuana is also increasing, according to the poll. In 2012, only 38 percent supported legalization under any circumstances. This year's poll showed 59 percent do.

Muddying the waters a bit, however, is the fact that only about five in 10 respondents said they support marijuana legalization for recreational use specifically in this year's poll. That's up significantly from the 26 percent who said so in 2012, but it's unclear why the support for recreational use is lower than support for use "under any circumstances." 

The poll has a 2.5 percent margin of error.

Thirty-three states (including Ohio) and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Eleven states have also legalized recreational use of the drug.

The Kentucky House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

The poll showed more support among Democrats than independents and Republicans for all forms of marijuana legalization, though support for medical use differed by only a few points.

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky President and CEO Ben Chandler sounded a cautious note about the results of the poll.

"Support for medical marijuana is very strong, but we also learned that it's well ahead of the science showing that marijuana is safe and effective for most of the medical conditions claimed by pro-legalization advocates," Chandler said in a news release. "Despite the continuing lack of evidence, dozens of states have legalized medical marijuana. If Kentucky follows suit, our goal must be to put in place measures to protect the public health going forward."