Voters In Presidential Primary State South Carolina Think Feds Should Buzz Off States With Legal Marijuana

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Voters in early 2016 primary state South Carolina have just declared they want the next president to respect states that decide to legalize marijuana, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the Marijuana Majority, found that 65 percent of respondents in South Carolina believe that “states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference.” In comparison, only 16 percent think that “the federal government should arrest and prosecute people who are following state marijuana laws.”

While Democrats usually tend to support state marijuana laws more than Republicans, the poll of South Carolina voters reversed the trend present in Iowa and New Hampshire. A total of 66 percent of Republicans believe that the federal government should not interfere with state marijuana laws, but only 59 percent of Democrats said the same. That percentage for independents jumped to 73 percent.

“Regardless of whether they personally support legalization, voters in these early primary states strongly support scaling back the war on marijuana so that local laws can be enacted without federal harassment,” Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in a statement. “The Obama administration has made some helpful accommodations to let states start to move forward, but overarching federal prohibition laws still stand in the way of full and effective implementation.”

Recent polls indicated similar levels of opposition to federal prosecutions of states experimenting with legal marijuana in Iowa and New Hampshire, both early presidential primary states.
(RELATED: New Polls Could Mean Biggest Win For Legal Weed Yet)

No presidential candidate has expressed support for full legalization, but because of polling results, many have stated that even in spite of personal disagreement, states should be allowed to make their own decisions about the drug. A few, however, still believe that federal enforcement against the states is necessary. Ben Carson, a GOP presidential contender, said that because the drug lowers intelligence, states should not be allowed to set their own policy. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio also don’t intend to let states get away with legal marijuana.

Support for states’ rights seems to poll higher in South Carolina than in nationwide surveys. A Pew survey on the same issue found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the federal government should not interfere with legal marijuana on the state level.

The survey of 1,115 voters was conducted from Sept. 3-6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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