Poll: Minnesota Wants Less Restrictive Medical Marijuana Law

Minnesota Capitol- Summer

Minnesotans may not be ready to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but they do apparently want a less restrictive medical marijuana law that would allow patients to smoke marijuana, particularly if that’s the only way to get medical relief. That’s one of the results of an unscientific Minnesota Senate poll of 5,278 people at the State Fair.

This past session the legislature approved a law allowing patients with a qualifying medical condition to access cannabis (marijuana) for medicinal use. The Legislature limited the delivery methods for medical cannabis to oil or pill forms and specifically excluded smoking. Pressure from law enforcement agencies kept a more liberal law from gaining important supporters such as Governor Mark Dayton.

The Minnesota Senate survey found that 46.4% of respondents were OK with allowing smoking marijuana as a way for patients to get pain relief. An additional 20.81% said that would be OK only if using oil or pill forms of marijuana proved to be ineffective for the patient. 28.15% said smoking medical marijuana should never be allowed.

A bill to loosen Minnesota’s medical marijuana law is likely to come up next session.

The Senate survey also found that people want to make the Minnesota constitution harder to amend. In 2012 there were two constitutional amendments on the election ballot — one to ban same-sex marriage, the other to require all people to have a photo ID to vote. Both were defeated. Since then Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk has championed a bill that would make it harder for the legislature to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. Currently it requires just a majority vote of both chambers of the legislature. When Republicans had control of both the House and the Senate after the 2010 election they put the same-sex marriage ban and the voter photo ID amendments on the ballot. Republican strategists later revealed it was thought the amendments would drive conservative voter turnout and help defeat U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL). However, the the amendments apparently drove turnout on the DFL side and Republicans not only lost the U.S. Senate election but also lost control of both legislative chambers.

Asked if a “super majority” of the legislature (60%) should be required to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot 54.8% of respondents said yes. 32.78% said no. That’s similar to results of a House survey that was also taken at the state fair.

The Senate poll, which again is not scientific, is often used by legislators to guide their actions in the coming session. Senator Bakk’s constitutional amendment bill could be considered again next session.

Other poll topics included paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, delving into the ride share services vs. taxi debate, teacher performance evaluations, pay-day loans, labeling genetically modified foods, and what to do with any budget surplus.

Full Senate poll results:

1. Which of the following best reflects your opinion concerning the level of state government services in Minnesota?
A) I am satisfied with the type and amount of services provided. 40.52% (2132)
B) I feel that state government provides more services than necessary. 29.61% (1558)
C) I feel government services should be increased. 24.31% (1279)
D) Undecided/No opinion. 5.55% (292)

2. During the 2014 session, the legislature passed a law requiring all employers with more than 21 employees to increase unpaid parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child from six weeks to twelve weeks. Do you support changing Minnesota law to require all employers with more than 21 employees to provide paid parental leave for the first six weeks?
A) Yes 56.83% (3003)
B) No 35.47% (1874)
C) Undecided/No opinion 7.70% (407)

3. Should Minnesota require vehicle owners to provide proof of motor vehicle insurance coverage when initially obtaining or renewing vehicle license tabs?
A) Yes 76.31% (4036)
B) No 16.01% (847)
C) Undecided/No opinion 7.68% (406)

4. Should companies that use mobile apps to facilitate ridesharing between passengers and drivers operating their personal vehicles be subject to regulations comparable to taxicab and limousine service regulations in areas such as liability insurance, vehicle standards, driver qualification, driver history, and accessibility for disabled individuals?
A) Yes 42.60% (2247)
B) No 40.02% (2111)
C) Undecided/No opinion 17.38% (917)

5. The Legislature recently established a program to allow patients with a qualifying medical condition to access cannabis (marijuana) for medicinal use. The Legislature limited the delivery methods for medical cannabis to oil or pill forms and specifically excluded smoking. Should patients with a qualifying medical condition be allowed to smoke medical cannabis as a permissible delivery method?
A) Yes, smoking should be allowed as an available delivery method for medical cannabis. 46.40% (2441)
B) Yes, smoking should be allowed as an available delivery method, but only if the patient cannot obtain the medical relief through the use of oil or pill forms due to the patient’s qualifying medical condition. 20.81% (1095)
C) No, smoking should never be allowed as an available delivery method. 28.15% (1481)
D) Undecided/No opinion 5.02%(264)

6. Do you support recent legislative efforts to create more jobs in solar, wind, and energy efficiency sectors?
A) Yes 74.39% (3928)
B) No 19.79% (1045)
C) Undecided/No opinion 5.81% (307)

7. The Minnesota Constitution requires a simple majority (51%) vote of the legislature to submit a proposed constitutional amendment to voters at a future general election. A bill under discussion during the 2014 session sought to increase the threshold to require a 60% super majority of the legislature to approve these ballot questions. Proponents argue requiring a super majority would lead to fewer, more broadly bi-partisan constitutional amendments; opponents argue the super majority would make it too difficult to propose changes to the Minnesota Constitution. Do you support this legislation?
A) Yes 54.80% (2885)
B) No 32.78% (1726)
C) Undecided/No opinion 12.42% (654)

8. Should the Legislature pass a law requiring the results of teacher performance evaluations to be a higher priority than years of experience in the school district when determining which public school teachers lose their jobs in a lay off situation?
A) Yes 57.52% (3033)
B) No, the current system is appropriate. 28.45% (1500)
C) Undecided/No opinion 14.03% (740)

9. Which of the following statements best reflects your highest priority in handling a budget surplus? (One answer only, please.)
A) Put money in a reserve fund for possible future budget shortfalls. 50.71% (2554)
B) Increase the funding for state government services. 15.79% (795)
C) Send rebate checks to taxpayers. 10.50 % (529)
D) Reduce the personal income tax. 17.47% (880)
E) Reduce the sales tax. 3.63% (183)
F) Undecided/No opinion 1.89% (95)

10. The Metropolitan Council (Met Council) is a regional governance entity in the seven county metropolitan area including Minneapolis and St. Paul. They are responsible for transit, wastewater collection and treatment, affordable housing, regional planning, and other issues related to the metropolitan area. There are 17 board members on the Met Council, made up of a chair and 16 members that each represents a district. How should board members of the Met Council be selected to serve?
A) As under current law the governor should appoint the members subject to state senate confirmation. 22.20 % (1113)
B) The governor should appoint the members, but the legislature and local governments 19.43% (974)
in each district should ultimately approve the appointments.
C) Residents of the metropolitan area should elect the members. 44.62% (2237)
D) Undecided/No opinion. 13.74% (689)

11. Should Minnesota establish additional regulations concerning short-term, high-interest loans, commonly known as payday loans?
A) Yes 61.48% (3082)
B) No 14.76% (740)
C) I am not familiar with payday loans. 16.18% (811)
D) Undecided/No opinion 7.58% (380)

12. On average, the state contributes approximately 3% toward the costs of new school facility construction and other significant capital improvements for school buildings. The remaining cost are financed by local property taxes within the district. In districts with less property wealth, the state share is larger; in districts with more property wealth, the state share is smaller. What is your opinion regarding how these costs should be shared?
A) The state should bear the entire cost of constructing new school facilities. 6.04%(302)
B) The state should significantly increase its contribution to the cost of constructing new facilities. 36.84% (1842)
C) The cost-sharing between state and local taxpayers is about right. 39.02% (1951)
D) Local property taxpayers should bear the entire cost of constructing new school facilities. 8.28% (414)
E) Undecided/No opinion 9.82% (491)

13. Should Minnesota require labeling of foods that have been genetically engineered?
A) Yes 59.22% (2967)
B) Yes, if surrounding states have the same labeling requirement. 7.45% (373)
C) No, labeling should be determined at the federal level. 27.27% (1366)
D) Undecided/No opinion 6.07% (304)

14. What is your primary focus when choosing your state legislator?
A. Fiscal issues 18.82% (944)
B. Social issues 20.75 % (1041)
C. Party affiliation 9.75% (489)
D. Personality of the candidate .90% (45)
E. Name recognition .10% (5)
F. A combination of the above 47.22% (2369)
G. I don’t vote .80% (40)
H. Other/No opinion 1.67% (84)

Minnesota Senate state fair survey (includes demographics)

Results of the House state fair poll can be found here.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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