The poll found that 58 percent of voters in the state support legalizing weed with 37 percent of those polled saying that they were opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana.
The statewide poll questioned 1,006 adults throughout the state and was conducted between Oct. 12 and Oct. 19. Researchers contacted voters via cell phones and landlines for the poll. The poll also found that nearly one-third of those in support of legalization were previously opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana.
Ashley Koning is the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers and says that the majority of New Jersey voters want legalized marijuana.
"As marijuana legalization approaches reality in the state, New Jerseyans are fully on board. Support has built up slowly in the past five decades, with this being the first time a majority has ever sided with legalization." Koning added that New Jersey voters are nearly three times as likely to support marijuana legalization than they were in 1971.
The stigma of marijuana has largely faded as states have legalized medical marijuana, and even New Jersey’s governor is a supporter of legalizing weed. Gov. Phil Murphy campaigned on marijuana legalization and wants to legalize the drug as a means of criminal justice reform.
New Jersey Wants Legalization
The poll also found that voters in the state agree with Gov. Murphy. At least 79 percent of New Jersey voters think that people convicted with small amounts of marijuana should have their records expunged. Gov. Murphy says that expunging the records of people convicted of low-level crimes involving weed is crucial to marijuana reform.
Another poll earlier in the year found similar results. Monmouth University conducted a poll and found that 60 percent of New Jersey voters were in support of legalizing weed.
The Rutgers-Eagleton poll also found that at least 50 percent of those polled had tried marijuana before and at least one-quarter said that they would consume the drug if it were legal.
At least 64 percent said that they thought legalizing, selling, regulating, and taxing marijuana would be helpful for the economy and would not have a problem if a marijuana dispensary was opened in their city. Forty-five percent said that alcohol was more harmful than marijuana.