A very slight majority of Minnesotans – 51 percent – support marijuana use for medical purposes, a new Star Tribune poll finds.
Forty-one percent oppose a change in state drug laws, and 63 percent oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use, the poll found.
The new survey found less support for medical marijuana than a poll taken in October by St. Cloud State University researchers, which found 76 percent of respondents favor legalizing medical marijuana, 20 percent oppose it and 4 percent don't know.
The Star Tribune poll offers more insight into public opinion on the divisive issue as lawmakers gear up for a tussle over it in the new legislative session, to begin late this month.
The proposal to legalize medical marijuana in the state has some bipartisan support, but foes include many of the state's influential law enforcement groups, the Star Tribune notes.
Gov. Mark Dayton has said that he generally opposes medical marijuana, but would sign a bill if law enforcement agencies could get behind it.
Twenty states, plus the District of Columbia, allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma and epilepsy. Another 13 states are considering new laws, according to the site procon.org, which tracks state marijuana-related legislation.
Marijuana is illegal according to federal laws, but the Justice Department has said it will not go after states with medical marijuana laws if certain criteria are met, USA Today noted.