Marijuana Legalization graphic

An LSU poll shows that a majority of Louisiana residents support legalization of recreational marijuana. State lawmakers did finally approve the tightly regulated use of medical marijuana in non-smokable forms, but getting the program off the ground has been unusually difficult.

Pollsters found that 55 percent of state residents support allowing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, with 42 percent against the idea. It comes as no surprise that younger people support it while older people are against it.

Eighty percent of 18- to 29-year-olds voiced support; there was 67 percent support from 30- to 49-year-olds; half of 50- 64-year-olds like the idea; 69 percent of people older than 65 oppose recreational marijuana.

The poll was conducted by the Reilly Center for Media and Public Relations at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. It was based on a statewide sample of 917 adults living in Louisiana and has a margin of error of 4.6 percentage points.

The Advocate reported that bills to loosen the state’s stance on marijuana have been filed, but Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has repeatedly said he doesn’t support allowing marijuana for recreational use. It’s not likely a majority of state legislators like the idea either.

Mike Adams, a contributor to Forbes magazine, last November wrote about the experience other states have had with recreational marijuana use. Adams said one report shows the steady decline in marijuana prices after legalization has crippled the ability of states to generate the kind of revenue they did in the beginning.

“Another report finds that for every dollar Colorado earns from legal weed, the state is spending $4.50 to combat public health and safety issues,” Adams said. “These two issues alone could sandbag the legal weed movement.”

Adams quoted former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper who said legal marijuana “hasn’t been the economic miracle, the economic sensation that people thought it was going to be.” However, Adams concluded the positives seem to outweigh the negatives in a big way.

Maybe so, but we hope Louisiana isn’t anywhere close to legalizing recreational use of marijuana. Anti-tax sentiment has been a catalyst for support from many residents in states that have legalized marijuana. They want someone else to pay their taxes, but legalizing marijuana is a sad way to finance essential state government operations.

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