More Kentucky residents favor marijuana legalization. As reported by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky on Wednesday, the Kentucky Health Issues Poll indicated that 90% of the respondents favor medical marijuana compared to 78% in 2012. Meanwhile, 49% wanted recreational marijuana legalization compared to 26% in 2012. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, in association with Interact for Health, conducted the poll between October and December 2019. The survey contacted 1,559 adults across the state.
According to the press release, the poll results indicated that residents across political affiliates favored medical marijuana. The press release added that 95% of Democrats, 92% of Independents, and 90% of Republicans supported medical marijuana legalization. However, only 38% of Republicans favored recreational cannabis, followed by Independents with 54% and Democrats with 60%. The press release added that four of the ten respondents stated that a friend or a family member uses marijuana regularly.
Speaking about the poll results, Ben Chandler, the president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, said, “Still, there’s a real concern that legalizing marijuana, even for medical purposes, makes it more available and socially acceptable, including among adolescents and teens.” He also said, “We know that ‘normalizing’ drugs increases their use. In the midst of a youth e-cigarette epidemic and a public health crisis largely tied to vaping marijuana – lawmakers must be sure to incorporate essential protections into marijuana health policy.”
Marijuana legalization in Kentucky
Currently, 11 states have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. Meanwhile, 33 states allow marijuana for medical purposes. Advocators are also working to legalize marijuana in Kentucky. On Wednesday, the poll results could strengthen their efforts. As reported by the Marijuana Policy Project, the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a medical marijuana legalization bill last year, which was proposed by Representative Jason Nemes. However, the House adjourned without making a decision. The article added that Andy Beshear became the governor of Kentucky in November 2019. He favors legalization, which could benefit legalization efforts.
Cannabis sector’s performance
Currently, the cannabis sector is going through a tough period. Increasing operating losses, rising debt, falling cannabis prices, and thriving black market sales dragged the cannabis sector down. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (TSE:HMMJ) and the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) fell by 39% and 31.4% last year, respectively. So far this year, the cannabis ETFs are trading in the red. YTD, MJ and HMMJ have fallen by 4.0% and 0.1%, respectively, as of Thursday. Previously, I expected the cannabis sector to bottom out in 2019. However, lower-than-expected growth in Cannabis 2.0 products and pricing pressure caused the stock prices to fall. This year, Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB), Aphria (NYSE:APHA), and Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON) have fallen by 7.4%, 14%, and 6.3%, respectively. However, Canopy Growth has returned 3.1% during the same period.