Poll: Illinoisans keen on marijuana decriminalization

Updated: Mar. 27, 2017 at 9:33 AM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - According to a recent poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, a majority of Illinoisans are in favor of marijuana decriminalization.

The poll was conducted Saturday, March 4 to Saturday, March 11. The sample included 1,000 randomly selected registered voters and a margin for error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Sixty percent of the interviews were with respondents on cell phones.

74 percent of voters support or strongly support the decriminalization of marijuana, where people in possession of small amounts for personal consumption would not be prosecuted, but instead may be fined. One in five voters, 21 percent, oppose or strongly oppose decriminalization and five percent answered otherwise.

In 2016, Gov. Rauner signed a law decriminalizing up to 10 grams of marijuana. Under the new law, people caught with up to 10 grams can face fines of $100 to $200 instead of facing a class B misdemeanor with the possibility six months in jail and $1,500 in fines.

Support is also strong for legalization of marijuana for recreational use. 66 percent of those polled support or strongly support legalization of recreational marijuana if it is taxed and regulated like alcohol. A notable 45 percent of voters support legalization strongly. Only 31 percent of voters oppose or strongly oppose and three percent answered otherwise.

"Illinois voters are growing increasingly comfortable with the idea of decriminalizing marijuana," Jak Tichenor, interim director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, said. "And we now have evidence that most see it as a potential revenue source for the state."

A March 2016 Simon Poll showed 51 percent opposed recreational use of marijuana while 45 percent approved.

When coupled with the idea of regulating and taxing it like alcohol, this year's poll showed a 21 percent increase in the number of people who approve recreational use.

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