According to new data from Ft. Hays State University’s annual “Kansas Speaks” survey, legalizing marijuana is a topic on which two-thirds of Kansans concur.
In it, 67.2% of respondents say they would support legalizing recreational marijuana for tax purposes in the state, in addition to medicinal marijuana. Political specialists assert that the data can be instructive, but caution is required when using it.
“Some municipalities have no respondents at all, while others have only a few. Michael Smith, a professor at Emporia State, explained that the rural areas of Kansas with the smallest populations are the most affected. “So you got to be careful in drawing too broad of a conclusion.”
Smith participated in the creation of this year’s survey. He suggests that this high level of support may be the result of residents in neighboring states following suit.
“Most Kansans live near the Missouri border and with it being legal for recreational use in Missouri, that may be softening up attitudes in Kansas.”
Presently, Kansas has no marijuana laws, but cannabis advocates view these results as additional momentum for the state to act in 2024.
Kansas Cannabis Coalition Secretary Kimberly Kruger told KAKE, “It just shows me that education is really getting out there.” “People aren’t afraid, you know, they, they’re asking the right questions.”
These results, according to Kruger, validate what the staff has observed in their conversations with Kansans over the past few years.
“It honestly did not startle us. The numbers increase.”
What do legislators think of the outcomes?
Rep. Nick Hoheisel, a Republican, stated that he and his colleagues use statewide polling like this to gauge where their constituents stand on an issue.
“I believe that it is significant. On this issue, we are more aware of how our constituents and Kansans as a whole feel. Therefore, it increases the sense of urgency within both legislatures, as we wish to represent our constituents and Kansas.”
However, he believes that recreational marijuana is a step too far for many legislators to support at this time. He believes there is a greater opportunity for something restrained to succeed.
“I believe this is an issue on which we can reach widespread consensus. We can create a medical marijuana plan for Kansas that is restrictive, but fulfills the purpose of medical marijuana.
64% of respondents are at least inclined to support a candidate for state office who supports medical marijuana.
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