Freedom Leaf Election Report: Polling Highs
On Nov. 8, five states—Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada—will vote on measures to legalize and regulate the adult use, commercial production and retail sale of marijuana. With two weeks to go before Election Day, here’s how voters are leaning on the ballot initiatives.
The latest polling data from the Grand Canyon State finds a plurality of voters supporting Prop 205 (the Arizona Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Act). According to survey data compiled by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy and released in September, 50% of registered voters back the measure, while 40% oppose it. Consequently, the fate of the proposition largely lies in the hands of undecided voters.
In 2010, Arizonans narrowly approved a medical cannabis legalization law with less than 51% of the vote. If enacted in November, Prop 205 would permit adults to possess, consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana and extracts (up to one ounce of marijuana flowers, six plants and five grams of concentrate), and establish regulations for commercial production and distribution.
Many polls are gauging voter sentiment on Prop 64 (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act or AUMA). To date, all show majority support for the measure, which would allow those age 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of flowers and eight grams of concentrate, and grow up to six plants. A September poll conducted by CALSPEAKS Opinion Research Center at Sacramento State University found that a whopping 71% of Californians were likely to vote Yes on Prop 64. And an August survey conduct-ed by the Institute of Government Studies at the University of California, Berkeley concluded that 64% of voters believe “marijuana should be legal for adults to purchase and use recreationally, with government regulations similar to the regulation of alcohol.” Another recent poll conducted by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times had AUMA ahead with 58% of voters.
Despite concerns voiced by some in the medical marijuana community, the language of Prop 64 explicitly states that it’s not intended to “repeal, affect, restrict or preempt… laws pertaining to the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 [Prop 215].” The measure is endorsed by a broad coalition of organizations and political leaders, including the ACLU of California, California Democratic Party, California Medical Association, California NAACP, NORML, SSDP, Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.
A September poll conducted by the Portland Press Herald showed
Question 1 (the Marijuana Legalization Act) leading by a 53% to 38% margin. The measure would allow would allow adults to legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six mature plants. In past elections, Maine voters have often backed progressive pot policies, including twice deciding in favor of permitting patient access to cannabis for therapeutic purposes. In 2013, 70% of voters in Portland favored a municipal ballot measure that removed all criminal and civil penalties for possession of up to 2.5 ounces of pot.
In recent weeks, public support has ticked upward for Question 4 (the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act). A poll conducted by WBUR in early September showed 50% in favor and 45% against the marijuana measure. The relatively weak support is surprising, since Bay State residents have previously voted by large margins for medical marijuana (2012) and decriminalization (2008), as well as for dozens of non-binding municipal legalization initiatives. Question 4 would allow adults to possess 10 ounces in their homes and grow up to six plants.
A Rasmussen poll in July had voters backing Question 2 (the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana) by a 50% to 41% margin. The measure would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of flowers and 3.5 grams of concentrate. However, to grow up to six plants, citizens would have to live 25 miles or more from the nearest retail pot shop. In 2000, 67% of Nevadans approved Question 9, which legalized and regulated the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis.
In addition, four states—Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota—have medical marijuana measures on the ballot. In Florida, Amendment 2 (the Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Conditions Initiative) polling shows 72% in favor of creating a system of commercial cultivation and sales to patients through dispensaries. However, home growing would not be allowed.
For more about the initiatives, see Freedom Leaf’ State-by-State 2016 Ballot Initiative Guide