Medical marijuana 05

Medical marijuana legalization in Idaho is coming, it’s just a matter of when and how.

A new Idaho Politics Weekly poll finds that 73 percent of Idahoans “strongly” or “somewhat” support legal medical marijuana.

Only 26 percent oppose, with 2 percent don’t know.

Various citizen initiative petitions to legalize medical marijuana – which is generally described as use of the drug for specific diseases prescribed by a medical doctor – have failed to make the ballot in recent years.

And the Idaho Legislature has, likewise, never passed a medical marijuana bill.

But should it make the ballot, or should the GOP-controlled Legislature ever decide to act, citizens overwhelmingly will approve, the new poll by Dan Jones & Associates finds.

However, Idahoans don’t want total legalization of all marijuana, or recreational marijuana, finds DJA.

-- 57 percent of Idahoans are against recreational marijuana, even while several other states in the nation have legalized it.

-- 44 percent favor complete legalization of marijuana use in all forms, while 2 percent don’t know.

The differing opinions between the young and the old are striking:

-- Among those who are 18-29 years old, medical marijuana should be legal, 89-12 percent.

-- In that age group, all marijuana should be legal, 61-40 percent.

-- Older folks, 70 years and above, say medical marijuana should be legal, 69-28 percent.

-- But Idaho seniors are strongly against recreational marijuana, 69-27 percent – or about the opposite numbers as young Idahoans.

Idaho is a Republican, conservative state.

But DJA finds that even Republican conservatives want medical marijuana legal:

-- Republicans favor medical marijuana, 58-39 percent.

-- Those who told DJA they are “very conservative” in the politics favor medical use of the drug, 53-45 percent.

Democrats and political independents are much more accepting of both medical marijuana, and total recreational use of the drug:

-- Democrats favor medical marijuana legalization, 91-8 percent.

-- They want total legalization of the drug’s use, 65-34 percent.

= Political independents want medical marijuana, 83-16 percent.

= But they are split on recreational legalization, 50 percent against it, 49 percent in favor.

Medical marijuana was just legalized in Utah, which has a large LDS population. Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ultimately approved of the compromise bill passed by the Legislature late last year.

But Mormon leaders strongly oppose recreational use of marijuana.

Mormons make up a large part of the Idaho voting public, as well, although not as big as in Utah.

DJA finds that 57 percent of Idaho Mormons favor legalizing medical marijuana, while 42 percent oppose.

Idaho Mormons are against recreational legalization, 82-17 percent.

Other faiths in Idaho support medical marijuana, but oppose recreational use.

Those who told DJA that they have no religion favor medical marijuana 87-11 percent.

They favor recreational marijuana legalization, 72-28 percent.

DJA polled 615 adults from Jan. 23 to Feb. 4. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percent.