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home : latest news : state September 27, 2016


2/20/2014 5:09:00 AM
Poll shows Arizonans may be ready to decriminalize marijuana
Four years after Arizonans narrowly approved medical marijuana, a new poll suggests that a slim majority favors full legalization. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Laura Monte)
Four years after Arizonans narrowly approved medical marijuana, a new poll suggests that a slim majority favors full legalization. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Laura Monte)
Poll finds narrow majority in favor of legalizing sale of marijuana in Arizona
BY MORIAH COSTA

Cronkite News Service



PHOENIX - 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.

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.



The Poll

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

Statewide:

• 51 percent for

• 41 percent against

• 8 percent unsure



Ages:

Under 35:

• 61 percent for

• 29 percent against

• 10 percent unsure

35 to 54:

• 54 percent for

• 42 percent against

• 4 percent unsure

55 and older:

• 39 percent for

• 52 percent against

• 9 percent unsure



Party Affiliation

Republicans:

• 40 percent for

• 54 percent against

• 6 percent unsure

Democrats:

• 54 percent for

• 36 percent against

• 10 percent unsure

Independents:

• 59 percent for

• 33 percent against

• 8 percent unsure





Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services


PHOENIX -- Arizona voters may be ready to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington residents and make marijuana use by anyone legal.

A new statewide poll shows 51 percent of those asked said the drug, now authorized for those with a medical reason, should be made available to all. That compares with 41 percent opposed.

Jim Haynes, president of the Behavior Research Center, said the numbers are little short of a sea-change in public opinion.

He said while this is his first statewide poll on the question, a 1974 national survey found legalization opposed by a margin of close to 3-1. Now nationwide numbers pretty much track what was found here, with 54 percent in support.

Some of this may be an increasing acceptance of what was once considered by many to be a dangerous drug.

He pointed out that Arizona voters approved medical marijuana in 2010, albeit by a narrow margin. Since that time more than 43,000 Arizonans have been approved to buy up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.

But Haynes said there may be another factor at work: demographics.

"Younger voters are social libertarians,' he said, more willing to let people do what they want without government interference.

Support for legal marijuana is 2-1 among those younger than 35. It drops off to a 12-point spread of backers versus foes in the 35-to-54-year-old age group, with fewer than 40 percent of those 55 and older wanting to legalize the drug.

And what that could indicate, Haynes said, is that as older voters die off and younger ones hit voting age, the margin of those who see nothing wrong with recreational use of marijuana is likely to increase.

That portends well for the Marijuana Policy Project. That group, which funded the successful 2010 ballot measure, is gearing up for a 2016 campaign.

Still, having Arizona follow in the footsteps of other states is far from a lock. Haynes said having the support of just 51 percent is hardly a guarantee of voter approval.

Potentially more significant, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery promised that foes of legalization do not intend to sit on their hands, the way they did four years ago.

"We will not get caught flat-footed and late to the issue again,' he said when the idea of a 2016 initiative was first proposed last year. That is a reference to the fact that there was no organized opposition to the 2010 measure.

Montgomery also promised to work to "counter the misinformation relied up by the Marijuana Policy Project to mislead the public about the nature and impact of drug legalization.'

Aside from differences in attitude based on age, Haynes said he found men slightly more supportive than women. And political independents were more likely to vote to legalize marijuana than Democrats, who were more supportive than Republicans.

The results are from a survey last month of 701 adult heads of household in Arizona, including 457 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points for all residents and 4.7 percent for just registered voters.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Article comment by: Puff Puff Puff

Dah Dah Dah Puff Puff Puff Dah Dah Dah and foreign countries are buying buildings as we drown in more debt borrowing money! Dah Dah Dah Puff Puff Puff Dah Dah Dah in a big cloud of smoke. How stupid are you people? Is getting high that important? Please Explain!

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Who Cares

Look at the polls change is coming! Sorry to anyone 55+ but this youth is and will change America. Some of us look at SB1062 and shake our heads. (Who cares) Most of us believe Marijuana should be 100% legal. If you smoke and drive it should have the same consequences as alcohol. But it’s ok to drink at home. It should be ok to smoke at home. Colorado has said that in 18 months the revenue will be close to 184 million dollars. Arizona could use this money to, hopefully, help schools. Pay teachers what they are worth, upgrade buildings, and be on the cusp of education. One day this will not be an issue this generation of youth will change America. I look back and cannot understand how slavery was in existence along with they way women couldn’t vote. It’s crazy to think my grandparent’s generation looks like they were full of hatred.
As Mark Twain said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
All I say is “broaden your mind elderly generation”


Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Bring on the change :)

thank goodness! my backs killing me i need a hit!

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014
Article comment by: Slater Slater

If I can find the boat,I'm on board.

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014
Article comment by: Boss Illuminati

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, and 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...

love and freedom forever, sherif bill must be flipping out

AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS!!!33


Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014
Article comment by: lets leaglize

@ Mary Jane (cannabis). No Mary, Wrong not changing the laws here its been the same for, how many years??? You all can not deny, the bad effects of this crap its a drug so can we make Vicoden a legal drug that anyone can purchase from the local store without prescription??? Prescription drugs oh and coke and meth should be added just to be safe so that nobody feels left out. the fight was all about a drug that was suppose to help, no its just a fight to make you pot heads be able to smoke it in front of my kids. that's just what I want. hey kids lets roll another its ok because mommy and daddy smoke it. the cartels are going to concentrate on other drugs like meth and coke, you think its bad now just wait till these cartels are so high on those drugs all the time. So we will have to make meth legal since we smoked pot and now all my motor skills are slow and hardly function, meth will be the fix. when will it stop???

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014
Article comment by: Mary Jane

@ lets leaglize

I say we go the other way! We should reinstate prohibition for alcohol and even add cigarettes.

We haven't created even close to enough gangsters and international criminals! Can you imagine the boom to economy we will have when we start building more prisons and jails to house the millions of Americans we will catch bootlegging alcohol and cigarettes.

Just think of the countless jobs we will create when we hire more judges, prosecutors, public defenders, cops, jailers, prison guards and all the support staff that goes into running this sort of juggernaut!

I'll bet that with any real effort we could make felons out of more than half the population!!!

Of course that would mean no more cool Budweiser commercials during Superbowl Can you imagine a world without those cute puppies playing with the Clydesdales?

It's a brave new world of Big Brother you have in mind for us, eh?


Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014
Article comment by: lets leaglize

come on az lets get this stuff legalized that way I can walk around the town with my doobie like people do with cigerates. shoot im high now should I drive to work now oh wait I was fired for showing up late to many times, cant wait to collect my unemployment benefits. I sapose I could get foodstamps now to. ya man this work thing just drags you down is my spelling and grammer off or am I just high.

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Article comment by: Allen Bessanson

I am certain that decriminalization will happen in our state. That being said, legalization, granting nearly unchained access to Marijuana will certainly have negative unintended consequences. For instance, how many know (or care) that smoke from burning marijuana can cause cancer just like cigarettes? As for the drug cartels and the war on drugs, once pot is legal they'll just shift focus to peddling other dangerous drugs. Nothing will change. Legalized pot is stone madness.

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

There is a distinct difference between decriminalization and legalization. More people have been negatively effected by criminalization than by the plant being illegal. (Criminalization involves the loss of freedom.)

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Article comment by: Inevitable legalization

There are several reasons why I believe it is inevitable that eventually marijuana will be decriminalized in Arizona.

First is the failed war on drugs. We've spent tens of millions on law enforcement in this state, incarcerated people at great expense, and on and on, yet it basically makes no difference. The marijuana still comes.

So if it comes one way or another, the difference is how do you want to come -- illegally through Mexican narcoterrorists that do so much damage to our neighbors to the south, or legally here, where it can be grown, regulated, and taxed, part of a legal job-creating industry that effectively cuts off the narcoterrorists?

Third, the argument that pot is a gateway drug to harder more dangerous drugs is increasingly falling flat. With or without legal cannabis, people who are so predisposed are going to do that. We're not going to stop that.

Conversely, those that are not so predisposed will not with or without legalization. I see no good reasons why legalization will somehow persuade people not so inclined to use dangerous addictive drugs.

Fourth, there are legitimate uses for cannabis both medicinally and recreationally. We're seeing it help more people with difficult to treat illnesses, and people throughout the world have been using this relatively harmless substance recreationally for millennia.

Finally, in comparison to other legal recreational substances that are taxed and regulated, such as tobacco and alcohol, cannabis is far less harmful.

The writing is on the wall, just a matter of time.




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