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North Dakotans don't plan to legalize pot, statewide poll shows

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FARGO — Results of a recent poll show there may not be much support for the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana in North Dakota.

Just 153 out of 400 respondents, or about 38 percent, said they would vote for Measure No. 3 to legalize recreational marijuana, according to a statewide poll conducted by Odney, an advertising and public relations firm.

Fifty-six percent of respondents, or 224 out of 400, said they wouldn’t support the measure, which will be on the November ballot, and about 6 percent said they were undecided or didn’t answer the poll.

The poll broke down responses by categories, including by age, gender, political affiliation and east-west perspectives.

Shannon Bugge-Turman, Odney’s research director, said an imaginary north-south line drawn through Harvey in Wells County is how pollsters split the state into eastern and western halves.

According to the poll, about 40 percent of respondents in the east would support a measure legalizing recreational marijuana. That number drops to about 36 percent for western respondents.

The poll shows a large difference between male and female support for legalizing recreational marijuana, with about 44 percent of male respondents supporting such a measure, compared to about 32 percent of female respondents.

When it comes to age, 49 out of 144 respondents, or about 34 percent, between the ages of 35 and 54 said they would support such a measure, while 58 out of 179 respondents, or about 32 percent, age 55 and older said they would support such a measure.

People under the age of 35 were more in favor of the measure, with about 66 percent of respondents in that age group indicating they would vote yes.

Breaking down the results by political affiliation showed another side of the picture.

About 25 percent of respondents who identified as Republicans said they would support legalizing recreational marijuana.

About 41 percent of respondents who identified as Independents and about 53 percent of respondents who identified as Democrats said they would vote yes.

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The poll was conducted by telephone, with 60 percent done through landlines and the rest through cellphones, Bugge-Turman said. It was conducted from Aug. 20 to 22.

Odney did the recreational marijuana poll in conjunction with other polling for statewide candidates. The poll was not done on behalf of any groups opposing or backing the measure, according to Odney.

North Dakotans are still waiting for access to medical marijuana after approving it at the ballot box in 2016.

If passed, Measure No. 3 would amend state law to legalize "non-violent marijuana related activity" for those over 21, except for selling to minors, and it wouldn't impose limits on how much somebody could grow or possess. It would also create a method for expunging records of those previously convicted of a crime that would be legalized by the measure.

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