State News

Coloradans now oppose marijuana legalization

Research poll shows only one quarter of voters feel regulation is adequate

On Aug. 26 news was released in Denver that is a negative for the marijuana industry.

SmithJohnson Research, a polling firm who has worked with Democrats and Republicans, released a poll finding that a majority (51 percent) of likely Coloradan voters would oppose Amendment 64 today. Only about one quarter of voters thought the Amendment had done a good job at regulation; most voters did not think so. Supporters of Amendment 64 had promised that legalizing marijuana would keep it from children and teens, but that hasn’t happened in too many cases. In fact, 45 percent of those polled said they would strongly oppose the measure compared to 36 percent who said they would be strongly for the measure if it were on a ballot again. (The measure passed in 2012 with 54 percent of the vote.) The top-cited concerns of voters were edible marijuana products and driving under the influence of marijuana.

“After two years of increased marijuana use, a growing proliferation of marijuana candies aimed at children, more arrests in schools for pot, a jump in the number of people publicly using marijuana, and an increase in marijuana-related driving citations, we shouldn’t be surprised that Coloradans are coming around to opposing legalization,” said Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Florida and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).

“The special-interest marijuana industry has too firm a grip on regulations in Colorado, and voters don’t like what they’re getting,” Sabet said.

An independent group of citizens in Colorado, Smart Colorado, is insisting on uniform labeling for marijuana edibles, one that would consist of a stop sign and something to denote the presence of THC. The Health Department seems likely to adopt the new plan.

“It’s time for a renewed conversation about marijuana in Colorado,” said Ben Cort, Colorado SAM Member and an addiction treatment professional.

Bob Doyle, chair of Colorado SAM said, “We intend to kick-start those conversations so that Coloradans – rather than the marijuana industry – can determine the future of their own state.”

The SmithJohnson Research telephone poll queried 600 likely voters, yielding a sampling error of +/- 4 percent.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of “incarceration versus legalization” when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.

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