New Poll Offers False Dichotomy, Skews Illinois Voters’ View On Marijuana

Poll presents voters with only two options on marijuana policy, contradicted by Mason-Dixon poll.

CHICAGO – Today, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute released a poll of Illinois voters that purports to show overwhelming support for the legalization of marijuana. The poll shows that 66% of voters in the state were supportive of the legalization of marijuana if it is taxed and regulated like alcohol. This poll is directly contradicted by a recent Mason-Dixon poll that shows only 23% of Illinois voters support legalization.

The Simon poll offers voters only two choices, as opposed to other recent polls which offer additional options. When pollsters introduce additional options, the percentage in support of legalization drops significantly.

The Mason-Dixon poll found that only 23 percent of Illinois residents 18 and older approve of legalizing recreational marijuana use and sales when given additional choices, such as decriminalization. The majority of voters, 69 percent, wanted to maintain current decriminalization laws, repeal medical marijuana, or keep recreational marijuana illegal. Marijuana possession in Illinois is currently subject to a civil violation, and the Mason-Dixon poll found that 47% of voters want to see that remain as it is.

“This is a nuanced issue and it is a mistake for public policy makers to believe that these two choices are the only options when it comes to the drafting of marijuana policy,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action), a non-profit organization sponsoring Healthy & Productive Illinois.

“The results of the Mason-Dixon poll make it loud and clear that the people of Illinois do not want to see the creation of a Big Marijuana that would put profits over people,” said Sabet.

Healthy and Productive Illinois is comprised of parents, organizations, and businesses that are concerned about the impacts of today’s highly potent strains of marijuana on the communities and businesses of Illinois.