Legal Pot Support in Colorado Up to 62 Percent Despite Horror Stories

3D Cannabis Center's Toni Fox on day one of legal marijuana sales in Colorado. Additional images and more below.
3D Cannabis Center's Toni Fox on day one of legal marijuana sales in Colorado. Additional images and more below.
Photo by Brandon Marshall

In a recent post about the third volume of a report attacking Colorado's legalization of limited marijuana sales, we noted that those opposing the state's policies have yet to mute their criticism even though more than a year has passed since recreational shops began doing business.

But judging by a new poll, their efforts don't appear to be having an effect on Colorado's citizenry as a whole.

The survey shows support for recreational pot sales here growing to a robust 62 percent — well over the figure with positive views on the topic around the time voters approved 2012's Amendment 64, the measure that set the current ganja boom in motion.

Tom Gorman, the director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
Tom Gorman, the director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
File photo

Among the marijuana naysayers are the folks at the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a law-enforcement group whose latest salvo, entitled "The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 3," makes the following assertions:

• Marijuana-impaired driving: Impaired driving data related to marijuana is on the increase.
• Colorado youth marijuana use: In 2013, Colorado’s average for youth (12 to 17 years old) considered “current” marijuana users was 11.16 percent, which was 56.08 percent higher than the national average and ranked number three in the nation.
• Colorado college-age marijuana use: In 2012, Colorado’s average for college-age individuals (18 to 25 years old) considered current marijuana users was 29.05 percent, which was 53.62 percent higher than the national average and ranked number two in the nation.
• Colorado emergency room: There has been a significant increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the first six months of 2014.
• Diversion of Colorado marijuana: In 2014, there were 360 highway interdictions of Colorado marijuana destined for other states. In just one year, 2013 to 2014, there was a 25 percent increase in the number of interdiction seizures.

Because of the group's openly anti-pot agenda, and its acknowledgement that the data collected doesn't constitute a scientific study, many members of the marijuana community discount such stats. And judging by the latest poll by Quinnipiac University, the public as a whole is doing likewise.

Marijuana Policy Project spokesman and Amendment 64 proponent Mason Tvert.
Marijuana Policy Project spokesman and Amendment 64 proponent Mason Tvert.
Photo by Sam Levin

The poll takes on plenty of subjects, including the 2016 U.S. Senate race that will feature Democrat Michael Bennet. But also featured is this question about marijuana, which was posed to respondents in Colorado, Iowa and Virginia: "Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Colorado/Iowa/Virginia to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use?"

In Iowa, those who replied were evenly split: 47 percent in favor, 47 opposed. In Virginia, 54 percent said yes, as opposed to 41 percent answering no.

And in Colorado? Quinnipiac counts 62 percent in support and only 34 percent against the concept.

As noted by Mason Tvert, an Amendment 64 proponent who's now a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, that 62 percent figure is not only up from 58 percent in February, but is a full 7 percent higher than the 55 percent figure registered around the time of the 2012 election.

Tvert's statement about the results seems aimed at the disaster-is-still-coming crowd.

"Coloradans can see firsthand that the system is working," he notes. "They were not swayed by all the anti-marijuana doom and gloom when they voted for the law, and even fewer are being swayed by it two years later. The sky didn’t fall, and the outlook is brighter than ever. Opponents of legalization like to claim that Colorado voters are experiencing buyer’s remorse, but it appears most of them are satisfied customers. 

Look below to see the Quinnipiac poll.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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