Marijuana Poll Showing Unhappiness Over Legalization Embraced by Anti-Pot Activists

A cropped version of Smart Colorado's Twitter profile pic.
A cropped version of Smart Colorado's Twitter profile pic.

As we've noted, poll results are notoriously fluid on plenty of topics. But that doesn't stop partisans from championing those they like, even when they're contradicted by others.

Case in point: Anti-pot activists have embraced a survey showing that the majority of Coloradans are unhappy with marijuana legalization even though other analyses find exactly the opposite.

See also: Marijuana Membership Clubs Supported by Two-Thirds of Respondents in New Poll

Bob Doyle, right, with Paula Riggs and Dr. Christian Thurstone at the 2013 press conference announcing the launch of Project SAM.
Bob Doyle, right, with Paula Riggs and Dr. Christian Thurstone at the 2013 press conference announcing the launch of Project SAM.
Photo by Sam Levin

The latest poll to address this issue comes from Suffolk University. The results are synopsized like so:

Colorado voters may be having second thoughts about the legalization of marijuana. A slight majority of voters (50.2 percent) say they do not agree with the decision to legalize recreational marijuana in that state -- a decision made by voters in 2012 -- while 46 percent continue to support the decision. Nearly 49 percent do not approve of how the state is managing legalized pot, compared to 42 percent who approve.

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Approximately four seconds after these results were made public, the folks from Project SAM, a group that opposes cannabis legalization, weighed in.

"We have always believed that when voters were given the facts about marijuana, the marijuana industry, and the failings of commercialization, they would oppose legalization," Colorado SAM chairman Bob Doyle said in a statement. "It is unfortunate Colorado has been the lab rat of the marijuana industry, but we're confident legalization will only be temporary as opposition to legalization grows and our education of people across the state increases."

Kevin Sabet, left, with former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy at the aforementioned 2013 Project SAM press conference.
Kevin Sabet, left, with former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy at the aforementioned 2013 Project SAM press conference.
Photo by Sam Levin

Added Kevin Sabet, Project SAM's president: "The theory of legalization looks a lot prettier than the policy in practice. Revenue numbers are low, the underground market is thriving, and health issues are mounting. And, it appears, the public is paying attention."

Problem is, other surveys contradict the Suffolk findings. A Quinnipiac University poll from July put support of legalization at 54-43 percent -- although QU notes that these figures were down from February, when the pro-legalization percentage measured at 58-39.

A Marist poll from this month is very much in line with the Quinnipiac data. An excerpt:

A majority of Colorado residents, 55 percent, is for Colorado's new marijuana law which allows the legalization of small amounts of the drug purchased from regulated businesses. Among these Coloradans, 27 percent actively support the law, and 28 percent favor the legislation but do not actively do so. In contrast, 41 percent oppose the law. This includes 8 percent who are actively trying to overturn the legislation.

Shockingly enough, we couldn't find any quotes from Doyle or Sabet either celebrating or pillorying these figures. But that's no surprise, since advocates in most fields tend to keep mum about surveys until they find one that reinforces what they believe.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.


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