State Fair poll: Majority supports recreational marijuana

Odds are, some of these people at the Minnesota State Fair are high on drugs. Try picking out which ones yourself!

Odds are, some of these people at the Minnesota State Fair are high on drugs. Try picking out which ones yourself! Adam Iverson

Go ahead, try thinking of a better place to be recreationally high on marijuana than the Minnesota State Fair.

The Fair is a sensory experience straddling the edge of overload, a wild melange of colors, sounds, textures, smells, and tastes. And that's just the people from [insert whichever Minnesota town you use as a punchline]

This year's State Fair brought in a record number of attendees -- just under two million in its 12 days -- and about 7,100 of them briefly set aside whatever was dripping onto their shirts to fill out a survey commissioned by the Minnesota House of Representatives

A slight majority (50.6 percent) of the 7,122 folks polled would support Minnesota fully legalizing recreational marijuana. That would be a giant leap beyond the state's restrictive medicinal system, which adds new qualifying conditions annually, on a piecemeal basis.

At the latest count, about 8,800 Minnesotans had applied for and received approval to enroll in the state's medical pot program, and 6,600-some are actively using it. Just under 1,000 doctors and healthcare providers have registered to sign their patients up for enrollment.

The "Yes" votes carried a more than 10-point advantage over those opposed to recreational marijuana (39.7 percent), with the remainder (9.7 percent) reporting they were unsure, or had no opinion. 

The pot question asked Fair-goers about legalizing marijuana for users above the age of 21, which also happens to be the age respondents think people should be allowed to use tobacco. Two-thirds (66 percent exactly) think the age limit already in place in St. Louis Park and Edina should go statewide

Other interesting results from the great get-together of 2017:

  • Survey takers are deeply divided on increasing penalties for protesters who block traffic on highways or at airports (44 percent support harsher laws, 46 percent oppose);
  • they're strongly against allowing permit-less carry of firearms in Minnesota (86 percent opposed);
  • a majority (60.6 percent) would back increasing the state's gas tax to fund highways and bridges;
  • and they really, really (as in, 96 percent) don't think telecommunications companies should be able to sell consumers' information without their consent

As a voluntary poll, the House's survey is considered "unscientific." If you say so, science. Ask us, and a bunch of people pausing an all-day outdoors food-and-fun excursion ... to voluntarily vote on something... why, it has to be among the most Minnesota behaviors scientifically possible.