Half of the likely voters in Massachusetts say they intend to vote for a recreational marijuana initiative this November, according to a new poll, while five percent are undecided.
Results of a new WBUR/MassINC statewide poll suggest that Massachusetts’ voters will pass an adult use marijuana initiative this November. The survey, conducted Sept. 7-10 by The MassINC Polling Group, asked 506 likely voters in Massachusetts whether they intend to support the Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana initiative (Question 4), which would legalize the use, purchase, possession and transfer of marijuana by adults aged 21 and older. Fifty percent of respondents said they plan on voting to legalize marijuana, compared to 45 percent who planned to oppose the initiative. Five percent responded that they were undecided or did not know.
“There’s some big demographic splits, particularly along age lines,” said Steve Koczela, president of The MassINC Polling Group. “Younger people are very much in favor of legalization, and it declines steadily as you move up the age brackets to where you get to voters who are 60-plus, and they’re opposed to it by a 17-point margin.”
Among voters under the age of 30, 65 percent were found to support legalization. Of the voters aged 60 and older, 39 percent responded they support the measure, while 56 percent oppose it.
The survey also found that 80 percent of respondents don’t believe using marijuana is morally wrong, compared to 14 percent who said it is and six percent saying they are undecided or don’t know.
Fifty percent of respondents believe that marijuana is not a gateway drug that leads users to try other drugs. Forty-three percent responded they believe cannabis use does lead to the use of other substances.
When asked what substance they thought was most harmful to overall health, just four percent said marijuana, while 42 percent responded tobacco, 19 percent said alcohol, and 13 percent said sugar.
The poll’s findings indicate a swift and notable shift in public opinion, as a Gravis Marketing poll from July found that just 41 percent of likely voters planned to vote for the initiative, compared to 51 percent who said they planned to oppose it and nine percent that were undecided.
Massachusetts decriminalized recreational marijuana in 2008, making the possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana a civil offense with a $100 fine but no jail time. If Question 4 passes, adults aged 21 and older will be able to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana, keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home, and cultivate up to six plants. Edibles and concentrates would also be legalized. Under the law, a new Cannabis Control Commission would be established to regulate the program, and a 3.75 percent excise tax and a 6.25 percent sales tax would be applied.
The marijuana market in Massachusetts could be worth $1.1 billion by the year 2020, according to a recent report from Arcview Market Research and New Frontier.
In addition to Massachusetts, eight states will vote on medical or recreational initiatives this fall, which means by the end of the year, American could have 29 states with medical marijuana laws on the books and nine states with adult use legislation. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8.
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