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Majority of Maine Voters Support Recreational Marijuana Initiative, Poll Finds

An adult use marijuana initiative is likely to pass in Maine this November, according to the results of a new poll.

A majority of Maine voters are in favor of the legalization of adult use marijuana, say the results of a new poll by Portland Press Herald. When 505 likely voters were asked whether they support a November ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational use, roughly 53 percent responded in favor, compared to 38 percent who voiced opposition and 10 percent who said they were undecided.

This fall, Maine voters will decide on Question 1, a ballot initiative that calls for the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. The law would allow adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces and enact a 10 percent tax on all sales. Revenue would go to implementing and regulating the program.

The Press Herald poll showed that 67 percent of Maine Democrats support legalization, compared to just 35 percent of Republicans. Fifty-six percent of voters who self-identify as independent support the adult use measure. Legalization was found to be most popular among voters between the ages of 18 and 34 years, with 69 percent responding in favor. Just 35 percent of poll participants over age 65 said they favor Question 1, but a majority of those between the ages of 35 and 64 years support the legislation.

The survey also found that more than 60 percent of likely voters have tried marijuana at some point. Nearly three-quarters of poll participants aged 34 and under acknowledged having at one time or more consuming marijuana.

The poll also found that 79 percent of likely voters believe the passing of Question 1 would cause state revenues to increase “significantly” or “somewhat.” A report published earlier this year by ArcView Market Research has projected the national legal marijuana market to be $6.7 billion this year and then balloon to $21.8 billion by 2020.

Recreational and Medical Marijuana

Maine is just one of five states that will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana. California, Massachusetts, Arizona and Nevada will also present voters with initiatives, which means that the number of states with legalized adult use marijuana could more than double by the end of the year. Four other states will be voting on medical marijuana initiatives, potentially bumping the number of states with medicinal cannabis laws to 29.

“It is a very big year,” Sam Mendez, executive director of the Cannabis Law and Policy Project at the University of Washington School of Law, told the Portland Press Herald. “If you do see Maine and Massachusetts approve legalization, that will be a clear bellwether,” Mendez added, referencing that the campaign for legalization is spreading from primarily the West Coast to the Northeast. “Every indication so far has been moving in favor of legalization (nationally) and I think that is indicated by the large number of states – even relatively conservative states – that have passed measures in recent years, and also (by) national polling.”

Marijuana Policy Project survey performed in May gathered similar results, with 55 percent of registered and likely voters saying they support a law that allows marijuana to be legalized, taxed and regulated.

The Portland Press Herald poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center between September 15 and 20.

Read more about the states that will be voting on cannabis measures here. Learn more about the current cannabis laws in Maine by visiting our education page.