A new poll from Quinnipac released on Monday shows that marijuana legalization could play a major role in three swing states in the 2016 elections. In Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, over 80% of voters favor making medical marijuana legal and each state also has a slim majority favoring making pot legal for adult recreational use. During the recent CPAC meeting, marijuana was frequently discussed and other reports show that it is a topic that scores well with both Republicans and Democrats. Amongst Independents, Libertarians and Tea Party voters, making pot legal, even if only for medical purposes, is extremely popular. So will any of the 2016 presidential candidates take up the matter and make it a campaign issue?
Sen. Rand Paul, who threw his hat in the ring yesterday, is well known for his Libertarian views on marijuana. The Quinnipac poll showed him scoring very well, leading the pack of all potential GOP candidates for 2016 in both Ohio and Pennsylvania. Both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush appear to be leaning towards favoring the legalization of medical marijuana and the results in Florida from the poll show them leading. Clinton also leads in Ohio over all Republicans on this issue. So, if you are going to replay 2012 and focus most of your efforts in a handful of swing states, including Nevada and Colorado, which already have legalized pot to one degree or another, taking up the leafy sword won′t hurt.
Many states with elections in 2015 will have marijuana legalization proposals on their ballots, including Ohio and possibly Michigan for full, recreational use. Some six others are expected to have pot ballot measures in 2016, including California and Nevada. There seems little doubt, especially with the results of the new Quinnipac poll, that marijuana legalization could be an issue that may have a definite impact in the 2016 presidential campaign.