A slight majority of adults say the federal government should not attempt to enforce federal marijuana laws in states which have voted to legalize it, according to a new YouGov poll. Some 51% of respondents said the federal government should “exempt adults who follow state law from enforcement.”
The poll was conducted December 5 and 6 among 1,000 adults. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.
The poll comes as the Obama administration ponders how to respond to last month’s passage of marijuana legalization measures Amendment 64 in Colorado and I-502 in Washington. While possession of up to an ounce by adults became legal last week in Washington and will become legal within weeks in Colorado, both states have a matter of months to come up with regulatory structures for commercial marijuana cultivation and distribution.
There has been speculation that the administration may attempt to block the regulatory and tax components on the initiatives, but this poll suggest little support for that among the public.
Fewer than one-third (30%) of respondents said the federal government should “enforce the drugs laws the same way it does in other states,” while an unusually high 20% of respondents were not sure.
This is the second poll this month to find a majority saying the question of legalization should be left to the states. A CBS News poll last week had 59% of respondents saying it should be up to the states. Like the YouGuv poll, this poll had only about one-third (34%) saying it should be up to the federal government.