More than 50 percent of registered voters recently polled strongly or somewhat favored an initiative that would permit “limited social marijuana consumption” in some Denver, Colorado, businesses.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, conducted the automated telephone poll. The questions focused on whether or not voters would approve the smoking of cannabis in places such as bars, as long as the venue admitted only those patrons 21 and over, prohibited indoor smoking, and kept the smoking area out of the public eye.
The initiative is authored by Mason Tvert, activist for the Marijuana Policy Project, and Brian Vincente of the law firm Vincente Sederberg, which focuses on cannabis law.
Tvert indicated that voters have long supported a move toward structuring public cannabis use along similar standards as those regulating alcohol consumption. He said:
“Voters approved measures to that effect in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012, and so it’s not surprising that we’re still seeing such strong support, even among a more conservative voting population in an off-year election.”
As for the opposition, 31 percent of responders came out strongly against the proposal, 9 percent were somewhat against it, and 5 percent were undecided.
The breakdown of political affiliation for the poll was 17 percent Republican, 23 percent independent, and 60 percent Democrat. In Denver, registered voters weigh in at 16 percent Republican, 35 percent unaffiliated, and 48 percent Democrat. Fifty-two percent of the people polled were women, and 66 percent were white.
Another question posed by the poll was whether voters thought alcohol or marijuana was more publically disruptive in Denver. Of the 629 people polled, 55 percent said alcohol caused the most problems, while 13 percent cited marijuana. Twenty-six percent thought both were an issue, and 6 percent did not have an opinion.
Cannabis-related polls on a national level are reflecting changing public attitudes toward legalization in general. A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center said that 53 percent of Americans favor legalization. The Pew results found that 36 percent of people polled thought that marijuana was:
“…no worse than other drugs…with many explicitly mentioning that they think it is no more dangerous than alcohol or cigarettes.”
Tvert and Vincente are currently attempting to gather the 5,000 signatures necessary to put their initiative on the ballot in Denver in November.