Slim majority favors legal pot in Az
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Slim majority favors legal pot in Az

Nearly four years after Arizonans narrowly approved medical marijuana, a poll suggests that a slight majority favors following the lead of Colorado and Washington by legalizing the drug.

Fifty-one percent of those responding to the Behavior Research Center’s Rocky Mountain Poll said the sale of marijuana should be legal, while 41 percent were opposed. Eight percent were unsure.

Earl de Berge, the center’s research director, said the results show a changing perspective toward marijuana use among Americans, especially young people.

“It reflects a growing trend across the country,” he said. “Half of Americans have smoked it at some point.”

Two groups are trying to collect enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in Arizona, with one aiming for this year and the other for 2016.

The poll found that support for legalization was strongest among adults younger than 35, with 61 percent in favor. But 54 percent of those ages 35 to 54 also said they were for it.

Among those 55 and older, 52 percent opposed legalization.

Fifty-four percent of those identifying themselves as Democrats said they in were favor versus 40 percent of Republicans. Among those who identified themselves as independents, 59 percent were in favor.

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The poll, conducted between Jan. 16 and Jan. 26, surveyed 701 heads of households in Arizona, including 457 registered voters. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for the entire population and 4.7 percentage points for registered voters.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in an email that the margin for error indicates that there are more people opposed to legalization than the poll suggests.

“With all the smoke and mirrors employed by the pro-legalization industry, the failure to muster a majority that exceeds the 4.7 percent margin of error in the poll is evidence that you can’t fool all the people all the time,” his email read. “As Arizonans are able to see the growing problems in Colorado and Washington, the percentage of those in favor of legalizing marijuana is more likely to decline rather than grow.”

Dennis Bohlke, treasurer for Safer Arizona, a marijuana advocacy group that is trying to get a legalization initiative on the November ballot, said he was happy to hear about the poll.

“I do think it will help our efforts and build more confidence in people,” he said.

The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which pressed successfully for medical marijuana in 2010, has said it hopes to put the issue before voters in 2016.

Samara Klar, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Arizona, said there are many single-issue voters and that marijuana legalization could be the tipping point for some.

“It is starting to look like a nonpartisan issue; it doesn’t really seem to be lining up on party lines,” she said.

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Latest comments on this storyRead all 4 »

Feb 20, 2014, 8:56 am
-1 +1

It is your brain to destroy as you see fit, I guess. My problem isn’t with legalization, it is with spin. There is far too much bullshit out there saying that weed is harmless and not addictive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Please don’t try to convince me otherwise, I witnessed it with my very own senses with people I grew up with. Over a summer I watched them get dumber and dumber, yet they couldn’t stop smoking this horrible drug. Let people do it if they wish, but let them make the choice with their eyes open, not with all this “weed is harmless” bullshit.

Feb 19, 2014, 6:23 pm
-0 +0

We agree…it won’t be simple.  It has to start somewhere.  And it seems to finally be starting. So…will insurance, etc., stay behind the curve?  Probably.  But…you’re talking about a segment of the population affected….just like currently not every employer tests for drugs.  Ha…if every employer did, our unemployment rate would really be through the roof.
Insurance companies are looking at FICO scores as a reason to raise a person’s rates….is that fair?  Sadly, we’re either going to need more laws regulating insurance businesses or less lawyers and people doing stupid things.
I’m obviously not going to change your mind on the subject…have a good evening.

Feb 19, 2014, 6:03 pm
-0 +0

Yes, I am.  And I stand by what I said…a drug test that detects residual use in someone that is not impaired will at some point be challenged in court if legalization continues on its current trajectory.  You can argue with me all you like…I am NOT condoning anyone driving my precious babies or cruising next to me on the freeway at 70mph after a few tokes…but the current test for marijuana impairment is antiquated and outdated for gauging if someone is presently high or just had some weekend fun at a party three weeks prior.
The drug testing companies will raise holy hell since they’ll lose the biggest contributor to their business model…hopefully they’ll survive by still testing for the BAD stuff like Meth, Heroin, etc…

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Laura Monte/Cronkite News Service

Four years after Arizonans narrowly approved medical marijuana, a new poll suggests that a slim majority favors full legalization.

The poll

Question: “Do you think the sale of marijuana should be made legal in Arizona or not?”

• 51 percent for
• 41 percent against
• 8 percent unsure

Under the age of 35:
• 61 percent for
• 29 percent against
• 10 percent unsure

Ages 35 to 54:
• 54 percent for
• 42 percent against
• 4 percent unsure

55 and older:
• 39 percent for
• 52 percent against
• 9 percent unsure

• 40 percent for
• 54 percent against
• 6 percent unsure

• 54 percent for
• 36 percent against
• 10 percent unsure

• 59 percent for
• 33 percent against
• 8 percent unsure