Americans strongly support executive actions taken on Thursday by President Joe Biden to pardon people with federal marijuana possession offenses and potentially loosen federal restrictions on the drug, reports Politico. The new poll is from Politico and Morning Consult.
Nearly two-thirds of voters indicated they support pardons for people with nonviolent federal marijuana convictions. That includes 40 percent who strongly support Biden’s actions. Another 25 percent are somewhat supportive. In contrast, fewer than one in four respondents expressed opposition to pardoning Cannabis offenders.
A slightly higher share of respondents — 69 percent — expressed support for potentially changing the federal classification of marijuana. Fewer than one in five respondents indicated opposition to reevaluating the federal status of Cannabis.
71% of Millennials Support Biden’s Pardons
Of particular note is that 71 percent of Millennials support Biden’s pot possession pardons. Almost as many, 68 percent, support a review of weed’s federal drug status. Millennial and Generation Z voters are, of course, crucially important voters for Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections.
The poll also found most voters are familiar with Biden’s recent Cannabis moves. More than two thirds of respondents said they had heard a lot or some about the executive actions. Meanwhile, just 32 percent said they hadn’t heard much about them.
Biden on October 5 announced the pardons of about 6,500 people with federal marijuana possession convictions. The President told the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to start a review process of marijuana’s standing on the Controlled Substances Act.
Marijuana — that is to say, Cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC — is a Schedule I drug on the CSA. That means your federal government, ever since Nixon’s War On Drugs began in 1970, considers marijuana just as dangerous as heroin and LSD.
Support Only Slightly Less Among Older Americans
Support was only slightly less among older demographic groups: 61 percent of Gen Xers expressed support for the pardons, while 68 percent backed the reclassification process. Among Baby Boomers, roughly two thirds indicated support for Biden’s marijuana moves.
Only 55 percent of Gen Zers were supportive of the marijuana pardons Biden issued. Gen Z was the least likely generation, however, to have heard news about the pardons. Twenty-six percent said they hadn’t heard much, while 20 percent said they hadn’t heard anything. Perhaps as a result, one out of four Gen Zers didn’t know if they supported the pardons, or they had no opinion about them.
Younger voters tend to vote Democratic in higher numbers. But a recent Pew poll showed only 20 percent of voters under 30, and 25 percent of voters ages 30 to 49, have given much thought to the midterms elections next month. Turnout of young voters could be crucial in determining which party controls Congress in January.
80% of Democrats Express Support
Democrats expressed overwhelming support for Biden’s moves. About 80 percent back both the pardons and the effort to reclassify the herb. Independents are also largely on board with the president’s actions, with nearly two thirds supporting. Republicans were more divided. Fifty-seven percent expressed support for reclassifying Cannabis. But just 46 percent backed Biden’s pardons for weed possession.
Black voters expressed strong support for Biden’s moves. A dominant 74 percent backed the pardons for marijuana offenders. White and Latino respondents were slightly less supportive. But even so, nearly two thirds of each group indicated support for the pardons.
The survey included 2,006 registered voters. It was conducted Oct. 7 to 9. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.