A solid majority — 58 percent– of Massachusetts voters support marijuana legalization according to the first professional poll sponsored by MassCann/NORML. The poll of registered voters was conducted by DAPA Research Inc. From the poll:
Would you support or oppose a ballot question that legalized marijuana and regulated it in the same manner as other agricultural commodities but prohibited sale to underage persons?
N= 100% Support 58% Oppose 35% Undecided 7%
Would you be more or less likely to vote for a ballot question if the question proposed would regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana to adults and tax it in the same manner as the state currently regulates alcohol – more or less?
N= 100% More 62% Less 30% Undecided 8%
It isn’t surprising that Massachusetts should be ready to embrace marijuana legalization. It is one of the most liberal states in the country. In 2008 the state overwhelmingly passed with a 65 percent yes vote a ballot initiative to decriminalized minor possession.
My own analysis of results of several local non-binding marijuana legalization “public policy questions” in 2010 indicated that state-wide there should be around a 56.6 percent support for marijuana legalization. That’s very similar to the results of this poll.
In addition to the great news that Massachusetts could be on the forefront of marijuana policy reform, the poll also demonstrates the importance of framing. If legal marijuana is going to be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol, people become more supportive of the idea.
This was one of the reasons Proposition 19 in California come up just short of victory in 2010. That marijuana legalization ballot initiative didn’t explicitly state how it would be taxed at the state level or require marijuana to be overseen by the state-wide system that regulated alcohol.
This is a lesson much of the marijuana reform movement has taken seriously. The Colorado Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the New Approach Washington campaign, and the California Regulate Marijuana Like Wine campaign are all very explicit about how legalized marijuana would be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.