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UW survey finds over half of Wyoming residents support legalization of cannabis for personal use


CASPER, Wyo — A new survey by the University of Wyoming’s Survey and Analysis Center (WYSAC) finds that’s 54% of Wyoming residents support allowing adults in Wyoming to legally possess marijuana for personal use.

According the University release Tuesday, this continues the trend observed through 2014, 2016 and 2018, when support rose from 37% to 41% to 49%, respectively.

Across age groups, there is a statistically significant decline in support as age increases.

The percentage of support for legalization among age groups is as follows:

  • 18- to 24-year-olds: 67%
  • 25- to 34-year-olds: 74%
  • 35- to 44-year-olds: 68 %
  • 55- to 64-year-olds: 51%

Groups showing less than a majority in support in favor of legalization is as follows:

  • 45- to 55-year-olds: 45%
  • 65- to 75-year-olds: 40%
  • 75 years-old and older: 30%

According to Rodney Wambeam, a senior research scientist at WYSAC,  the support for recreational marijuana use reflects a decrease in the perceived risk or harm related to the drug, UW said.

“Despite the increasing dangers of marijuana use, such as addiction or drugged driving, young people in particular seem to view marijuana as a safe and natural alternative to alcohol or other illicit drugs,” Wambeam said.

A large majority (85%) of Wyoming residents say they support the legalization of doctor-prescribed marijuana for medical purposes, comparable to the 86% who supported that measure in 2018.

75% of Wyoming residents believe that people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana should not serve time in jail, the survey found. This has increased from 69 percent in 2018 and from 66 percent in 2014, UW said.

“As laws regarding the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana change around the U.S., especially in nearby states, it’s not surprising to see attitudes in Wyoming change as well,” says Brian Harnisch, a senior research scientist at WYSAC. “In all bordering states except Idaho, marijuana or medical marijuana has been legalized to some extent or decriminalized.”

Data set:

The statewide survey was conducted Oct. 8-29, yielding 614 responses from randomly selected Wyoming citizens, UW said. The margin of error for the distribution of responses on any individual survey question is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Men and women from all age groups are represented, and all counties in Wyoming are proportionally represented in the survey sample. The final survey data have been weighted to reflect the actual population distribution in Wyoming on these key demographic characteristics.

Both landline and cellular telephone numbers were randomly generated for the study, resulting in 82 percent of completed surveys on cellphones. The survey is funded by WYSAC and UW’s School of Politics, Public Affairs and International Studies. University of Wyoming

The complete survey results are available here.