Presidential candidates aren’t the only thing republicans seem to be changing their minds about right now. Looks like even the grand old party of traditional values and conservative living is shrugging their shoulders and saying “fuck it” when it comes to anti-marijuana laws. For the first time ever, more Republicans support cannabis legalization than oppose it, 45 to 42 percent, according to a poll from YouGov.
The margin between Republicans who would legalize weed and those who wouldn’t is not wide, but it’s still significant. For one thing, it’s a contributor to the rising support of marijuana legalization overall, which has gone up to 55 percent right now from 52 percent at the end of last year, according to another YouGov poll.
It also shows a major shift in the Republican party during the last year. Last December, polls showed way more party members opposing cannabis legalization (50 percent) than in favor (36 percent). In January 2014, 60 percent opposed legalization while only 28 percent supported it.
So why the mood shift? No hard data on that, but another poll from YouGov might shed some light. 54 percent of Republicans polled said that enforcing marijuana laws costs more than it’s worth. For fiscal conservatives, that’s a big deal.
All this is not to say that anti-ganja sentiment is going the way of the dodo. It was just announced that Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), one of the most high profile 420-unfriendly groups around, has raised $2 million to fight marijuana legalization ballots like the one coming in California (which sounds impressive, except that pro legalization folks in the Golden State have raised more than three times that much so far).
Speaking of charitable contributions, it might not be a bad idea to gift Republican voters a little bit of kind kush, as this week is turning out to be a historically stressful one for the party.