The results of a new poll indicate that a recreational marijuana measure has a good chance of passing this November in Massachusetts.
A majority of voters in Massachusetts support an initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana, according to a new poll by WBZ-TV, WBZ NewRadio, and UMass Amherst. The poll of 700 likely Massachusetts voters found that 53 percent support the legalization of marijuana for personal use, compared to 40 percent who are opposed and 7 percent who are still unsure.
In November, Massachusetts will vote on Question 4, or the “Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana” initiative, which would legalize the use, purchase, possession, and transfer of marijuana by adults 21 and older. Under the law, a commission would be established to regulate the program, and a 3.75 percent excise tax and 6.25 percent sales tax would be imposed. New Frontier and Arcview Market Research has projected that Massachusetts’ legal marijuana market could be worth $300 million by 2018 and $1.1 billion by the year 2020 if the measure were to pass.
According to the poll, support for the adult use marijuana measure was found in every demographic group, except for voters over 55 years old and self-described as conservatives.
Poll participants did express concern when asked about various legalized-marijuana scenarios. Sixty-one percent said they would be bothered with people using cannabis in public. Fifty-two percent claimed they didn’t like the idea of cannabis advertisements on the television, radio, or on billboards. Forty-one percent said they’d be bothered if a marijuana store opened in their own neighborhood.
A WBUR/MassINC statewide poll, conducted just weeks ago, found that 50 percent of likely voters in Massachusetts intended to vote in favor of Question 4, while 45 percent planned to oppose the initiative and 5 percent were undecided.
The results of the most recent polls show a significant shift in support for the measure. A Gravis Marketing poll done in July found that just 41 percent of likely voters intended to support the measure, while 51 percent said they intended to oppose the measure and 9 percent remained undecided at the time.
Popular Massachusetts travel writer and TV personality Rick Steves recently voiced his support for the measure, claiming that prohibition causes more problems than it’s worth.
“This is civil liberties, this is respect for law enforcement, this is public safety, this is fiscal responsibility, this is take the money that empowers gangs and organized crime out of the black market and turn it into a legitimate, regulated and taxed industries,” he recently told Boston.com. The measure also has the public support of 10 Massachusetts lawmakers.
Massachusetts did decriminalize marijuana in 2012, making the possession of 1 ounce or less a civil offense with no jail term but a $100 fine. If voters do pass Amendment 4, their state would join Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska as the few U.S. states that have legalized recreational marijuana. California, Nevada, Arizona, and Maine will also vote on adult use marijuana initiatives.