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Medical marijuana grows inside Ilera Holistic Healthcare's medical marijuana facility, Tuesday, October 13, 2020, in Baker, La.

As more states legalize marijuana for recreational use – New York became the 15th to do so on Wednesday when Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law – a Louisiana political pollster found that a fast-growing number of people in this state favor doing the same.

Sixty-seven percent of the 1,160 people surveyed across the state March 22-23 by JMC Analytics and Polling of Baton Rouge favored legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal uses. They were asked: “In general, how would you describe your position on permissible usage of marijuana?”

That’s up 13 percentage points from when the same question was asked in 2020.

The poll, which was commissioned by Louisiana Association for Therapeutic Alternatives, elicited responses from age groups, party affiliations, race, gender, and home regions that roughly parallel the state’s demographics. The margin of error, with a 95% confidence interval, was 2.9%.

Pollster John Couvillon said the results show public opinion about legalized marijuana usage is “strongly supportive across nearly all of the demographic and political spectrum.” The only differences of opinion about legalized marijuana seems driven by the age of the respondent, with those over the age of 55 being less enthusiastic, he added.

Louisiana legislators have filed more than a dozen bills dealing with marijuana for when the session convenes next week on April 12. Most measures adjust regulatory provisions surrounding the laws that allow marijuana to be used as a medicine.

But legalization proponents filled media mailboxes Friday with demands to cover House Bill 524 only minutes after first-term state Mandeville Republican Rep. Richard Nelson’s pre-filed the legislation became public.

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HB524 would ask for parish by parish votes on decriminalizing possession and sale of marijuana, and if approved provide a framework for setting up a regulatory framework to allow for the sale and use of the weed.

But HB524 isn’t the only measure dealing with dope.

House Bill 243, by New Orleans Democratic Rep. Candace Newell, another first-termer, would decriminalizes the possession and distribution of marijuana contingent upon legislative enactment of a statutory regulatory system and sales tax regime.

Few expect either measure to do much better than previous legalization efforts that have died quickly in their first legislative committee hearings.

Inn the past, passage of using marijuana-for medical purposes was nearly sidetracked by an effort to permit smoking the drug as well as taking medicines made from the oils of the plant.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has said repeatedly in the past that he opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Email Mark Ballard at mballard@theadvocate.com.