U.S.: Marijuana Legalization Is Leading In Every State Where It's On The Ballot
By Derrick Stanley
As Election Day 2016 nears, marijuana legalization measures are favored by voters in all five states that have them on their ballot.
As recently as a month ago, polling showed that voters were wary of legalization measures in Arizona and Massachusetts. The races are close in all states, however, meaning the contests could still go either way.
In Arizona, an Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll of 784 registered voters taken in late August found that 50 percent supported marijuana legalization, 40 percent opposed it, and 10 percent remain undecided. That result is a big change from the results of a July poll of likely voters showing that only 39 percent said they favored the measure.
A post-debate SurveyUSA poll of 751 likely voters in California found that Proposition 64, which would legalize, tax and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana, is supported by 52 percent of the electorate and opposed by 41 percent, with 6 percent undecided. This is a lower margin than other recent polls there, which have shown support of 60 percent or more.
In Maine, a late September poll of 505 likely voters found 53 percent support for the legalization measure, 38 percent opposed to it and 10 percent undecided. This number has been fairly constant since early this year.
Marijuana legalization in Massachusetts is is supported by 53 percent of likely voters according to a recent WBZ-UMASS Amherst poll of 700 likely voters. Forty percent oppose it, while another 7 percent are unsure. That's also a turnaround from an earlier poll of 900 registered voters, which found only 41 percent supported the measure.
A poll of 500 likely voters last week in Nevada showed the state's legalization measure leading at 57 percent, with 33 percent opposing it.
"These poll numbers are not surprising," said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in an email. "Most Americans agree that the responsible adult use of cannabis ought not to be criminalized. The battle now is finding consensus regarding the details of how best to regulate this market."
Marijuana legalization opponents maintain their optimism, however. "If anything, the polls should give the opposition some comfort," said Kevin Sabet of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. "If you are not at 60 percent at this stage in the game, it usually spells trouble for ballot initiatives. We plan to do much more in the next 30 days."