State Fair poll: Majority supports recreational marijuana

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Odds are, some of these people at the Minnesota State Fair are high on drugs. Try picking out which ones yourself! Adam Iverson

Go ahead, try thinking of a better place to be recreationally high on marijuana than the Minnesota State Fair.

The Fair is a sensory experience straddling the edge of overload, a wild melange of colors, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes. And that's just the people from [insert whichever Minnesota town you use as a punchline]

This year's State Fair brought in a record number of attendees -- just under two million in its 12 days -- and about 7,100 of them briefly set aside whatever was dripping onto their shirts to fill out a survey commissioned by the Minnesota House of Representatives

A slight majority (50.6 percent) of the 7,122 folks polled would support Minnesota fully legalizing recreational marijuana. That would be a giant leap beyond the state's restrictive medicinal system, which adds new qualifying conditions annually, on a piecemeal basis.

At the latest count, about 8,800 Minnesotans had applied for and received approval to enroll in the state's medical pot program, and 6,600-some are actively using it. Just under 1,000 doctors and healthcare providers have registered to sign their patients up for enrollment.

The "Yes" votes carried a more than 10-point advantage over those opposed to recreational marijuana (39.7 percent), with the remainder (9.7 percent) reporting they were unsure, or had no opinion. 

The pot question asked Fair-goers about legalizing marijuana for users above the age of 21, which also happens to be the age respondents think people should be allowed to use tobacco. Two-thirds (66 percent exactly) think the age limit already in place in St. Louis Park and Edina should go statewide

Other interesting results from the great get-together of 2017:

  • Survey takers are deeply divided on increasing penalties for protesters who block traffic on highways or at airports (44 percent support harsher laws, 46 percent oppose);
  • they're strongly against allowing permit-less carry of firearms in Minnesota (86 percent opposed);
  • a majority (60.6 percent) would back increasing the state's gas tax to fund highways and bridges;
  • and they really, really (as in, 96 percent) don't think telecommunications companies should be able to sell consumers' information without their consent

As a voluntary poll, the House's survey is considered "unscientific." If you say so, science. Ask us, and a bunch of people pausing an all-day outdoors food-and-fun excursion ... to voluntarily vote on something... why, it has to be among the most Minnesota behaviors scientifically possible.


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