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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Arkansas voters evenly split on medical marijuana, poll finds

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 8:10 AM

A poll from Talk Business found that voters are split on allowing people to legally purchase marijuana for doctor-recommended medical use. If a petition is successful to get the measure on the ballot in November, 45 percent said they would support it and 45.5 percent said they would oppose, a statistical tie. Here was the question voters were asked: 

A proposal to allow the use of medical marijuana may also be on the ballot through the petition process. It would provide Arkansans the ability to use medical marijuana for debilitating medical conditions with a doctor’s recommendation and to allow patients to purchase medical marijuana at a regulated not-for-profit dispensary. If the election were held today and the measure were on the ballot, how would you vote?

A ballot initiative for medical marijuana in 2012 failed by just 30,000 votes (51-49), giving advocates hope that they can eventually succeed. Worth noting that polling prior to the 2012 election suggested that most voters opposed the measure, suggesting that this may be an issue on which people say one thing to a poller and do something else when they step in the ballot box. 

As Hendrix politics professor Jay Barth, who helped construct and analyze this Talk Business poll, said, "Voters have not always been forthright in stating their views on the issue in public opinion surveys (as we saw in 2012)." If that pattern repeats itself, what looks like a tie in polling now could turn out to be a win if the question does in fact make its way to the ballot in 2014. 

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