Survey finds more support for marijuana in Indiana than sports betting

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Hoosiers are more supportive of legalizing marijuana than they are of legalizing sports betting, according to results of a new survey.

Ball State University’s annual Hoosier Survey, released Tuesday, found only 37 percent of Hoosiers favor legalizing sports betting as a revenue source while 50 percent oppose the idea.

But when it comes to marijuana, 39 percent said they support legalizing it for recreational use and 42 percent said they support legalizing it for medicinal use. Only 16 percent said pot should not be legalized.

The Indiana General Assembly is expected to debate both issues in the upcoming session, and sports betting seems to have some support from lawmakers already. The interim Committee on Public Policy voted in October to recommend lawmakers consider legislation that allows sports gambling.

A report ordered by the Indiana Gaming Commission that was published last month estimated that revenue from sports wagering in Indiana could grow to $256 million annually by the fifth year.

Meanwhile, the interim Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee came to no consensus on medical marijuana after hearing more than three hours of testimony in October.

The greatest support for sports gambling comes from high-income individuals, people who are younger than 55 and people who live in urban areas, according to Ball State’s poll.

Support for legalizing marijuana also is higher among younger age groups, but individuals ages 18-34 leaned more toward recreational legalization while those 35 and older leaned toward legalizing medicinal use.

Charles Taylor, managing director of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State, said it’s possible that those who support legalizing the substance for recreational use would also support legalizing it for medicinal use, which could make overall support for the policy pretty high.

The idea is more popular among Democrats, with 50 percent saying it should be legal overall and 35 percent saying it should be legal for medicinal purposes. Among Republicans, only 26 percent said marijuana should be legal for recreational use, while 50 percent said it should be legal for medicinal use.

Only 16 percent of Hoosiers said that people should serve jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The drug was considered the least serious problem when compared with cocaine, meth, prescription drugs, heroin and alcohol, according to the poll.

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