A slight majority of the nation’s mayors support legalizing and regulating marijuana sales in their cities, a study conducted by researchers at Boston University revealed Tuesday.
Led by the college’s Initiative on Cities, the 2018 Menino Survey of Mayors asked 110 sitting U.S. mayors from cities in 37 states whether they favored legalizing marijuana and locally regulating retail sales, among myriad other policy questions posed by pollsters.
Fifty-three percent of mayors surveyed said they favored legalizing marijuana sales in their cities, compared to 35 percent opposed, the study’s authors wrote.
“Many mayors suggested that their views on marijuana were less about philosophy or values and more about practical challenges related to policy implementation,” the report said.
Broken down by political party, a majority of Democratic mayors surveyed – 62 percent – said they supported legalizing marijuana sales in their cities, according to the report.
Roughly two-thirds of Republican mayors surveyed – 67 percent – said they opposed legalization, the report said.
Ten states and counting have passed laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, including seven that have implemented rules permitting adults to purchase the plant from licensed retail dispensaries — Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, however, putting a growing number of states in direct conflict with the government’s longstanding policy of prohibition.
The National League of Cities, a group representing more than 19,000 municipalities across the country, passed a pair of resolutions during its annual meeting late last year urging the government to reform the nation’s drug laws, citing complications caused by conflicting state and federal marijuana legislation.
More recently, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle pitched marijuana reform proposals soon after the 116th Congress began meeting on Capitol Hill this month.
Sixty-three percent of U.S. voters support ending federal marijuana prohibition, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted last year. A similar study released months earlier by Gallup found that 64 percent of Americans, including 51 percent of Republican, support legalizing marijuana.
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