Small businesses split on religious freedom laws and marijuana, poll shows

Small businesses are split on whether they would support an initiative similar to Indiana’s controversial religious freedom law, according to a new Manta poll.

When asked if they would support a similar initiative in their own state, 53 percent of small business owners polled said they would not, while 47 percent said they would.

Indiana’s law, which passed last month, created a national uproar with opponents saying it opened the door for businesses to discriminate against the gay community. The law, critics said, would have allowed businesses like restaurants and movie theaters to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.


Indiana Gov. Mike Pence ultimately signed legislation to fix the law by specifying it was not designed to allow businesses to discriminate. Though the law does not allow a restaurant to refuse gay customers, it does allow a restaurant to refuse to cater a gay wedding.

In it's poll, Manta also asked small business owners about other issues trending at the polls  - marijuana being one.

When it comes to legalizing or decriminalizing weed, the feelings were mixed about the industry and its business opportunities. While 29 percent of respondents said decriminalized marijuana would be a boon to local small businesses, 32 percent dissented and 39 percent felt unsure.

As for drug testing in the workplace, 42 percent of small business owners said they would either begin or continue their current practice of drug testing if marijuana was legalized in their state.