Voters Are Ready to Regulate Marijuana


Public support for replacing marijuana prohibition with a system that taxes and regulates the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older has been steadily increasing since the mid-1990s. Nowhere is the increasing support for a more sensible approach to marijuana more apparent than in Rhode Island.

The Marijuana Policy Project has commissioned Public Policy Polling surveys of voters across Rhode Island on their attitudes toward this type of marijuana policy reform. In 2012, 52% of voters surveyed supported “changing Rhode Island law to tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol, where stores would be licensed to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older,” while 41% opposed the idea. In 2014, support increased to 53% while opposition remained steady at 41%.

In 2015, statewide support jumped to 57% in support of “changing Rhode Island law to tax and regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol” with opposition falling to 35%.

In addition to statewide polling, in 2015, MPP commissioned local surveys to get a better sense of local support as the Rhode Island General Assembly seriously considers the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act. In all six localities surveyed, support far outnumbers opposition, with overwhelming support found in certain localities. Topline results for both statewide and local results can be found below; click through to view the survey and crosstabs.

2015 Polling Results

Since 2012, four states — Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon — have changed their laws to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol for legal use by adults who are 21 and older. Would you support or oppose changing Rhode Island law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol?

Statewide: 57% support, 35% opposed, 8% not sure

Coventry: 60% support, 32% opposed, 7% not sure

Cranston: 50% support, 43% opposed, 7% not sure

Cumberland: 63% support, 32% opposed, 5% not sure

Johnston: 52% support, 42% opposed, 6% not sure

Narragansett: 54% support, 40% opposed, 6% not sure

Newport: 58% support, 30% opposed, 12% not sure