Four In Five Illinois Voters Support Medicinal Marijuana But Split On Recreational

illinois marijuana


Right now Illinois has a flawed medical marijuana program. Patients aren’t allowed to grow their own medicine, and there is a limited number of conditions that qualify a patient for the program. That’s just two examples out of many of the deficiencies of Illinois’ medical marijuana program. Attempts to expand the program have been thwarted by the Governor, and since the program is a pilot program, there’s not even any guarantee that it will continue after the pilot program period ends.

The results of a poll were released today by by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute which found that 82 percent of Illinois voters that were surveyed support medical marijuana. So why is the program so limited? Unfortunately the support for recreational cannabis wasn’t as high, although 45% is still within striking distance of a majority. It will just take some educating and spreading awareness. Below are the results of the poll, which can also be found at this link here:

Voters in Illinois show overwhelming support for medicinal marijuana use, but less than half of them support legalization for recreational use, according to a new poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The sample of 1,000 registered voters was taken Feb. 15 – 20 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

When asked whether they favor or oppose legalized medicinal marijuana in Illinois, 82 percent express support for the policy. Only 16 percent oppose and 3 percent did not know or answered otherwise.

Currently there is a four-year pilot program in Illinois for the use of medical marijuana. That program is due to expire in 2018.

Overall support for medical marijuana has increased dramatically – by 19 percentage points – and opposition has been cut in half since a 2013 Institute poll asked a similar question. The 2013 poll showed 63 percent support and 32 percent opposition. The 2013 poll was taken before the current medicinal marijuana pilot program was in effect.

Support is less strong on the question of recreational marijuana. There are 51 percent who oppose legalization of recreational marijuana while 45 percent said it should be legal. “We see clear support for medicinal marijuana, but recreational use is a mixed bag,” said David Yepsen, director of the Institute. “Medical use, recreational use, and decriminalization are all related but are still distinct public policy issues in the minds of many voters. They are likely to be issues in the debate over criminal justice reform, new revenues and public health,” he said.

Support for medicinal marijuana is strongest with younger voters. Among voters younger than 35, 90 percent favor medical use. Only 8 percent of those under 35 oppose medicinal use and 2 percent answered otherwise. On average, older voters were also supportive but not as strongly. Younger voters are also much more supportive of legal recreational use than older voters. Among those younger than age 35, 72 percent support and 24 percent oppose. Support significantly decreases among people over 65 years old – with only 29 percent in support.

“These data show that substantial support for medical cannabis can be found in every demographic, and that support has substantially increased in the last few years. Another result to pay attention to is the heavily skewed support for recreational marijuana among millennials,” said Delio Calzolari, associate director of the Institute and one of the designers of the poll. The poll also gauged attitudes toward gay marriage and abortion.


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  • Death will help us more than education at this point. We just have to wait for the opposition to die off.

    • Thomas Clark

      M.Simon I have been waiting for the opposition to die off for over 45 years. Waiting is not the answer, getting involved and standing up for what’s right is the only way to change things.

      • saynotohypocrisy

        You’re basically right, this is no time to let up on the activism, if anything the opposite, but I think time is our ally now too. The people who only heard the reefer madness side of the story are dying off pretty fast now.

  • Tammy

    If 1 million people were asked, and 45% said yes, and USED, 450,000 people would be incarcerated?

    Gee, sorry we’re not in the majority. It’s really too bad that, although 45% is stupidly enough, it is not QUITE enough to stop mass incarceration, right?

  • skoallio

    If recreational marijuana is losing in a blue state, theres no way you have majority support nationally.

    • saynotohypocrisy

      The poll question asked if recreational cannabis should be legalized. Poll questions that ask about “legalizing, regulating and taxing”, which is a more precise description of what most reformers support, get more support.
      And they didn’t even specify that they meant only for adults, over 21, which is the age in all initiatives so far, so the question was worthless.
      Now I’m curious how the question was phrased in the recent Iowa poll that had support at only 34%.

    • saynotohypocrisy

      “Do you think the recreational use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” is how they phrased it.
      Maybe you should have kept quiet, alcohol supremacist, all you did was inspire me to investigate and learn that this question on recreational legalization is worthless due to faulty wording.

  • Dave

    Illinois is full of corruption and buffoonery at every government level. Nothing gets done in illinois except politicians looking out for there own ass to get re-elected the 1st day they start serving. The fed needs to step in and re-start a whole new state government with no one currently in office . ItS a joke ,the voters are jokes, the jobs are a joke. the taxes are a joke. By far the worse state in the union! IT SUCKs BIG TIME!!!!