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Legal Pot Acceptance Growing In Colorado

Brett Levin
Flickr - Creative Commons

Colorado’s experiment with retail marijuana sales is less than three months old, but public opinion has swayed further in favor of legal pot since Amendment 64 passed. Those views are largely split along party lines.

Public Policy Polling released the results based on survey questions presented to 568 registered voters in Colorado. When placed before voters in 2012, 54 percent of Coloradans voted in favor of legalization. Two years later, that margin has widened with 57 percent in favor of legal pot. 74 percent of Democrats favor legalization compared to just 40 percent of Republicans.

While this increasing support may suggest that more Coloradans support legalization because they smoke or ingest the drug, the opposite is true. 89 percent of those in support said they don’t partake in the drug themselves.

So what’s guiding this change of opinion?

It doesn’t hurt that the state has already received $2 million in tax revenue from recreational dispensaries for January alone. Gov. John Hickenlooper released detailed plans in February about where he wants this money to go, ranging from education to substance abuse rehabilitation.

Some cities that rejected even medical marijuana facilities have made an about face. Fort Collins residents voted to drop the ban on medical sales a mere four days after Amendment 64 was passed. Now the city council has voted to approve recreational sales.

Despite more favorable views on legalization, Coloradans are still unsure as to whether legal pot has helped or hurt Colorado. Those who feel the drug harms the state have a slight edge over those who feel it has helped.

Conclusive evidence on the long term health affects of the drug remain unclear due to the lack of federal research funding. The verdict is still out regarding road accidents and whether children will have greater access to the drug in the long run. 

My two main passions are music and a fascination with the news.
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