Super Majority of Pennsylvania Voters Support Medical Marijuana

Super Majority of Pennsylvania Voters Support Medical Marijuana

ERIE, PA — A new poll released Friday by the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP)  shows that a super majority 85% of Pennsylvania voters believe that patients should be allowed to use medical marijuana when recommended by a doctor.  Only 10% were opposed.

The poll also found a solid majority of 59% in support of removing criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.  Respondents in favor of complete legalization outweighed those opposed by a 48% to 42% margin.

The poll of 495 registered voters was conducted Feb. 17-26.

“When it comes to Pennsylvania’s approach to regulating marijuana, voters in the Keystone State are clear: Keeping laws the same is not their preference,” pollsters concluded.

“Our findings suggest that the position of Pennsylvanians on the legalization of marijuana is largely consistent with the nation as a whole,” MCAP Director Joseph Morris said in a statement. 

“While voters may be divided over the policy that they prefer, they are very clear about their preferences for the direction of change,” Morris said. “They want more people to have access to the drug, or at the very least to see penalties associated with marijuana use and possession reduced.”

The poll also found that a plurality of Pennsylvania voters (44%) disapprove of the job Tom Corbett, the state’s former attorney general who opposes any marijuana reform,  is doing as governor.

When asked for whom they would vote if the election for governor was held today, a plurality (49%) say they would vote for an unnamed candidate from the Democratic Party, with 43% of those polled saying they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that favored legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana.

Of the seven Democratic candidates for governor, former state Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger has made marijuana legalization a central theme of his campaign, and has received an endorsement from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) for his plan to decriminalize marijuana possession, allow medical marijuana, and legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol in the state.

At least three other Democratic candidates support some form of marijuana reform.  Max Myers, a minister, says he is in favor of marijuana decriminalization and the eventual legalization of medical marijuana.

Tom Wolf, the current front runner for the Democratic nomination, supports legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing possession of small amounts, but says Pennsylvania should not consider legalizing marijuana until the impact of legalization can be determined in Colorado and Washington.  Rob McCord, currently Pennsylvania’s treasurer, has a similar stance to Wolf.

And US Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who previously opposed marijuana reform, recently did an about-face on her stance, coming out in favor of medical marijuana and saying that she would be “open to consideration” of decriminalization if elected governor.

Currently, lawmakers in Harrisburg are considering a comprehensive bi-partisan medical marijuana bill introduced by Senators Daylin Leach, a Democrat, and Mike Folmer, a Republican.  

Under the proposed  Senate Bill 1182, “Governor Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” medical marijuana patients would be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana or three ounces of marijuana infused products or concentrates.

  • coffee sick

    Out of 495, that is a very small sample and this is a bogus poll.

    • Steven

      495 is adequate for a sample population. As long as you have above 30, you can form a confidence interval using Z-values. Sorry, coffee sick, but you’re not correct.

    • Anonymous

      That is not a bogus poll because it has a small sample size. The margin of error is still accurately reflected. Take a stats class and learn what the central limit theorem is, then you can talk.

    • Derek Rosenzweig

      Actually, their polling methodology is quite sound, and their study questions are quite well done for this type of study. I worked at a survey programming/fielding company for 7 years. 495 people is a good sample size. Obviously a larger sample size would lower the margin of error, but that only becomes an issue with extremely small (ie less than 30 respondents) sample sizes. So… to put it bluntly, PA doesn’t want marijuana to be illegal, and they want the law to change. They’re just not sure what the best solution is. 31% prefer full legalization, 33% prefer medical. Either way… criminalization/prohibition is going to end and soon.

    • rescuetruth

      If you look at local polls from the past few years, you’ll find that Pennsylvania has been trending in this direction. Last year’s Franklin and Marshall poll found 82 percent supported medical marijuana. This poll puts it at 85 percent, which makes sense considering the momentum around this movement.

  • Jane Peters

    People want to be able to use something if it helps them. Cannabis is less toxic than acetaminophen.

  • Abe Gold

    The claim that 7% smoke marijuana is extremely low, BS. Just as true as Fox news claim that it lowers your IQ 8 points. How many IQ points do you lose by watching Fox News? 17!

  • malcolmkyle

    Neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them; the concept of a “Drug-Free Society” is a neurotic fantasy, and Prohibition’s ills are a product of this psychotic delusion.

    In a dangerous and futile attempt to stamp out alcohol, tobacco, heroin, marijuana, pornography, prostitution, marital infidelity, and even masturbation, this former land of the prosperous and free has been shamelessly pillaged by groups such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Society, The Anti-Saloon League, The Anti-Cigarette Movement, The Social Purity Movement, The Social Hygiene Movement, and now our latter day Drug Warriors.

    Prohibition was flawlessly designed to increase drug use, atomize society, impoverish citizens, spread illness, increase unemployment, destroy lives, imprison productive people, subvert democracy, shred the Constitution, empower the ignorant & brutal, facilitate mass surveillance, destroy the educational system, hold people in ignorance, manipulate and censor the media, and enrich a tiny puritanical minority of mega-millionaires and corporate bosses. Sadly, it has succeeded in all these objectives.

    If you support prohibition, then you’re a black market profiteer, a terrorist, a corrupt politician, a sadomoralist, a nanny-state socialist, or a fake-conservative.

    • Daniel Webster

      sadomoralist – a great word to add to my vocabulary

  • Anonymous

    Yeah for some reason, our policies cause people to lie about their marijuana usage, even when the survey promises anonymity.

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  • glorybe2

    Any narcotic should be legal and easy to get for terminally ill patients who are suffering. I don’t care if it is heroin. I don’t mind if the patient takes so much that they perish sooner than they would have from the disease. What I do worry about is every corrupt doctor and a flood of people who will exagerate any little problm to get their hands on pot or other drugs. I do feel that recreational users should get hammered on the first offence. Getting caught with any amount of illegal dope should be a severely life altering and permanent punishment. Perhaps requiring felons to never earn more tan minimum wage for the rest of their lives would do the trick.

    • Mike

      Just because that’s worked so well as a solution over the last century?

      Or just because you’re a sadomoralist?

      • glorybe2

        The idea is that people simply do not need to get drunk or high. Individuals flourish and so does society when sobriety is the mode of life. As I mentioned for someone with a real medical need i don’t care if they get addicted one bit. For them it is kinder to let them be so stoned they don’t even know they are alive. That does not mean I have any reason to tolerate people who take dope for pleasure. In the US before the Civil War to gun down a person for being drunk or high in public did not cause law enforcement to take action in most parts of our nation. And make no mistake, a man whose horse hurt someone while he was riding drunk would be hanged the same day.

        • Mike

          You’re pretty fixated on death. Not sure how that helps anything. And there is public support approaching zero for such a bloodthirsty approach to public policy.

          This applies all the more strongly for marijuana, a plant that god certainly made for our benefit, which has never killed anyone. Given that an entire pain relief system built on various forms of cannabinoids is inside every human being suggests that medical use should be an important part of our healthcare system, not an excuse for morality-crazed killers to commit murder.

          BTW, you may think that people don’t need to drink or get high, but there is considerable proof that human are a drug-taking species, just as many other species are. Dr. Andrew Weil wrote about this more than forty years ago. See:


          Of course, if you’re just looking for a way to kill people — and you think drugs kill people — why do you think you should interfere with that process by killing people yourself? Drugs not killing people fast enough for your taste/pleasure/entertainment? Do you have some sort of god-complex or are you simply a sociopathic sadomoralist?

          And the final question — Do I have to tolerate your intolerance or am I equally entitled to, um, do something about it? [not that I’m so inclined other than to suggest you’re either just trolling or in need of some serious rubber-room time?]

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