New poll sheds light on GOP’s evolving views on cannabis legalization

With midterm elections approaching, many political issues are taking center stage as November approaches. Cannabis reform and legalization has been a topic of discussion in several races, and its legalization will be on the ballot in several states in this election.

But where many issues are highly divisive, a new poll suggests Republican voters may actually support marijuana access and reform more than you might think, in a way that aligns them closer to Democrats than they typically do in today political climate is the case.

That opinion poll, conducted in late August on behalf of the National Cannabis Roundtable and polling 1,000 Republican voters, found that a majority of Republicans polled support a set of progressive cannabis policies. For one, according to the poll, 3 and 4 of the GOP voters polled believe cannabis companies should have the same rights as any other type of business.

The Fresh Toast got a chance to ask NCR a few questions about the poll, including whether they think Republican lawmakers with conservative views will start changing their stance on cannabis policy. “Members of Congress are elected to represent the views of their constituencies, and these poll results overwhelmingly show that there are more voters for cannabis reform than against,” said Saphira Galoob, executive director of the National Cannabis Roundtable. “So I think some positions on things like access to banks, US capital markets and tax reform will change with the Republican legislature.”

The poll found that 2 in 3 Republicans polled believe cannabis companies should be able to access the banking system and use bank accounts like a regular business. Meanwhile, there has still not been a cannabis banking law passed with bipartisan support, even after many attempts.

Some believe this change in sentiment and viewpoint will be reflected as early as November when people show up to vote. “We’ll likely see support for legal cannabis continue to grow this November as Republicans in at least a half-dozen states and counties vote on legalization and other issues,” said former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), a NCR Advisory Board member, in a press release.

RELATED: Why other countries are legalizing weed before the US

This stance has not always been held by Republican leaders, or even by Republican voters. But it seems as if the nation in general is taking a more sympathetic view of legalization of marijuana in general, Republicans have closed the gap and begun sharing not-too-distant opinions with Democrats across the aisle. We asked NCR what factors they think are inspiring this growing acceptance among Republican voters.

Photo by Baris-Ozer/Getty Images

“I think with more states coming online with medical programs and a wider range of recreational offerings, the stigma surrounding cannabis is weakening and people are realizing that the benefits of cannabis far outweigh whatever preconceptions may have been in the past like,” Galoob wrote.

RELATED: Big GOP players battle for and against cannabis in 2022

With so many interesting and often unexpected results within the survey, we asked NCR which results they found most surprising. “I was surprised by the widespread support for cannabis-related criminal justice reform in states where cannabis is legal,” Galoob wrote. “Support for reviewing verdicts and deleting records was over 70% of Republican voters, and I think that’s very significant.”

With November fast approaching, many are interested in seeing how America votes as it can potentially shed light on the pulse of many citizens, both liberal and conservative. If this poll is any indication of how Republicans across the country view cannabis policy, there could be much to debate and possibly celebrate when it comes to legalizing cannabis in states across the country.

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