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Arkansas Poll Expert Speaks To Latest Numbers On Medical Marijuana Issue

FAYETTEVILLE, AR. --- President Obama stirred the pot by talking about his own pot use in a magazine article this week. According to a 2012 Arkansas poll, 53% of people were opposed to the ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana while 43% favored it.
FAYETTEVILLE, AR. --- Dr. Janine Parry has been the director of the Arkansas poll for more than a decade. Since starting the poll in 1999, the survey has asked Arkansans twice about the issue of medical marijuana when it was up for a vote.

"The most recent time we polled medical marijuana was in 2012 because we had a ballot measure," said Parry.

That poll asked about permitting the medical use of marijuana in Arkansas. 53% of expected voters opposed the measure, while 43% favored it. Many in The Natural State may have been surprised by those numbers.

"What I have found is that we're less conservative in a lot of ways than some folks expect from a southern state," she said.

Parry said looking deeper into those digits may prove why there wasn't a larger gap in numbers.

"There's a thread of libertarianism. A kind of 'that might not be right for me, but I won't choose for you' sort of philosophy. That may mean that marijuana - medical or otherwise- might move a little faster here as a matter of public policy than it does in other places," said Parry.

One of those reasons it may move quicker? According to Parry, this might not be a hard lined party issue.

"I think it is one of those issues that does cut across party lines and it doesn't fit neatly into either a republican or democratic camp because of this sort of libertarian thread," she said.

But, that does not mean the policy could be enacted here in Arkansas anytime soon.

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