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Most People in Attorney General Jeff Sessions's Home State Want to Legalize Marijuana

A new poll finds that lopsided majorities in Alabama oppose the get-tough enforcement favored by their former senator.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has advocated a return to the “just say no” policies of the 1980s, residents in his home state of Alabama see things differently, a new poll has found.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In a survey of 2,500 Alabama residents done by, 78 percent said they favor legalization of marijuana.

For entrepreneurs and investors involved in the legal marijuana industry, the news is, at the very least, interesting. The more optimistic might hope that the views of his fellow Alabamians could influence Sessions as well.

The poll results might come as a surprise to many. In addition to the anti-marijuana rhetoric of Sessions, the former senator and attorney general in Alabama, the state often ranks high among the states not expected to legalize medical, much less recreational use, of marijuana.

Related: Marijuana In the Midwest? Nebraska Lawmakers Consider Cannabis Legalization.

In 2016, USA Today ranked Alabama as the No. 1 least likely state to legalize marijuana. Of course, they ranked Arkansas as No. 2, and voters there approved medical marijuana use last November.

Alabamians On Marijuana asked readers other questions involving marijuana, at least one of which might seem unusual to those who have never resided in the so-called “Bible Belt” of the United States.

The results of three questions were:

  • 92 percent said alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana
  • 89 percent said smoking marijuana is not a sin (8 percent said that it is)
  • 84 percent said recreational use should be legalized in Alabama

Of course, polls of website readers are not scientific by traditional polling standards. However, even Pew Research Center has started to question whether some of the polls might be more accurate than traditional telephone surveys.

Good News?

Those involved with the legal marijuana industry have kept a wary eye on Sessions. During the first few months of President Donald Trump’s administration, both Sessions and other administration officials have offered a litany of anti-marijuana statements but have been vague about what they might actually do.

The latest glimpse into Sessions thinking came in a speech in March before law enforcement officials in Richmond, Vir. His speech, which can be read in full here on the attorney general’s website, included a line that compared marijuana to heroin.

Related: How to Plant the Seeds of Success in the New Cannabis Economy

“I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store,” he said. “And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.  Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”

At least according to one poll, his view is not in step with a majority of his fellow Alabamians.

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