News9/Newson6 Poll Shows Voters Divided On Medical Marijuana Rules
By Alex Cameron, 9 Investigates
The state Board of Health has been under fire for approving medical marijuana rules that, critics charge, ignore the will of the people.
But new polling data shows that may not actually be true.
In a survey conducted last week by SoonerPoll.com, likely voters were asked about the emergency medical marijuana rules the Board approved two weeks ago — specifically about the ban on the sale of smokable marijuana and the requirement that all dispensaries have a licensed pharmacist on site.
Those two rules — added at the last minute, without any public comment — prompted protests and the filing of two lawsuits; lawmakers expressed outrage and disbelief, and the attorney general reviewed the rules and concluded the Board had overstepped its authority and imposed rules that ran contrary to the will of the people who approved State Question 788.
[box][QUESTION] Do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE the Oklahoma State Board of Health's new rule concerning medicinal marijuana that requires a licensed pharmacist at every medicinal marijuana dispensary?
1. Strongly support38.1%2. Somewhat support12.5COMBINED SUPPORT50.63. Undecided/No opinion6.44. Somewhat oppose15.45. Strongly oppose27.6COMBINED OPPOSE43.0
”If it’s the will of the people that we’re interested in,” said SoonerPoll founder Bill Shapard, “it’s polling like this that will really tell us.”
Shapard says, contrary to what the protests and outrage from legislators suggest, his poll shows that just 43 percent of Oklahomans oppose the rule requiring a pharmacist at every medical marijuana dispensary, while 51 percent support it.
”They want marijuana to be treated like any other drug,” Shapard explained, “and when they think of how drugs are dispensed in the state, they’re dispensed through a pharmacist.”
As for the rule forbidding the sale of smokable marijuana, the poll shows voters are evenly split -- 47 percent in favor, 47 percent opposed.
[box][QUESTION] Do you SUPPORT or OPPOSE the Oklahoma State Board of Health's new rule concerning medicinal marijuana that bans the sale of smokeable marijuana?
1. Strongly support38.7%2. Somewhat support7.9COMBINED SUPPORT46.63. Undecided/No opinion6.74. Somewhat oppose15.25. Strongly oppose31.5COMBINED OPPOSE46.7
Shapard says the results tell him Oklahomans are okay with marijuana being used for legitimate medical purposes, but,
”They’re not ready to then just put it in every strip center in the state,” said Shapard.
In line with that notion, the poll shows that most Oklahomans are not ready to make recreational marijuana legal. According to the survey, 62 percent of likely voters say they oppose it. Shapard’s polling accurately predicted voters would approve SQ 788 with 57 percent in favor.
About the Poll
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the poll of Oklahoma likely voters, which was commissioned by News9 and Newson6.
The scientific study was conducted July 18-20, 2018 with 404 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a 5-frame of SoonerPoll's own online panel, Research Now's voter panel, cell phones and landline telephones. For cell phone and landline telephones, voters are selected at random from SoonerPoll's voter database and matched with cell and landline phone numbers. Cell phone participants are collected using live interviewers and landline participants are collected using both live interviewer and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology. The sample was weighted by age, gender, political party and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population.
The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ±4.88 percent.