With Colorado an early test case, national support for marijuana legalization grows

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Over 40 people wait in line to buy recreational marijuana at Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, Colorado on January 1, 2014.

Over 40 people wait in line to buy recreational marijuana at Evergreen Apothecary in Denver, Colorado on January 1, 2014.

DENVER — Just days after Colorado became the first place in the world to witness the legal sale of recreational marijuana, a new survey shows that the rest of the country may support the broader legalization of what remains a controlled substance under federal law.

A CNN/ORC survey released Monday shows that 55 percent of those questioned believe that marijuana should be legal, while 44 percent think it should remain illegal.

Incidentally, Colorado’s Amendment 64, which forced the legalization of recreational pot, was approved in November 2012 by the same margin: 55 percent of the vote.

“There are big differences on age, region, party ID, and gender, with senior citizens, Republicans, and Southerners the only major demographic groups who still oppose the legal use of pot,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Two-thirds of those 18 to 34 said marijuana should be legal, with 64% of those 34 to 49 in agreement.

Half of those 50 to 64 believe marijuana should be legal, but that number dropped to 39% for those age 65 and older.

Support stood at 60% in the Northeast, 58% in the West, 57% in the Midwest, but just 48% in the South. Sixty-two percent of Democrats and 59% of Independents, but just 36% of Republicans, backed legalizing marijuana. Fifty-nine percent of men but just 51% of women supported making pot legal.

Also Monday, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who’s doing everything he can to drum up speculation that he could seek the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, offered his loose approval of Colorado’s legalization move when asked about it by Slate’s Dave Weigel.

“Each society has to make choices about what’s against the law. You have a large percentage of the population that’s already using this,” Schweitzer told Weigel. “The war on drugs is another war that appears to have been lost. This experiment with prohibition of marijuana doesn’t seem have to been working.

“Colorado might have it more right than the rest of us.”

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, from January 3-5, with 1,010 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Early on, there have been no big failures for opponents of legal marijuana to point to; and national media coverage has been relatively positive.

Note this Time magazine story Monday, crediting the state and Gov. John Hickenlooper for moving past the politics of pot and carrying out the voters’ wishes in a straightforward, pragmatic way.

“The early success of pot’s pilot program was ushered in by a phenomenon almost as rare: a government working as it should,” writes Time’s Alex Altman.



  • chris

    its a disaster its killing people 37 dead so far and counting

    One of the those victims was 29-year-old Jesse Bruce Pinkman, from Albuquerque who had recently moved to Boulder to establish a legal marijuana dispensary.

    Pinkman was partying with friends when he suffered several seizures and a massive heart attack which ultimately proved to be fatal. Toxicology reports revealed that marijuana was the only drug present in his system.

    Mr Pinkman will be buried next to long time friend and business partner walter white


  • Michael

    That is Satire news. There has never been a death from weed. Ever. Canibis has been around for 10 k years and was legal until the 1920’s

  • John

    Its funny, because it was already very clear the majority of people that still say no are all the old people that are dying off. Take that vote again in 10 years and it will be 80% vote yes bahahaha

  • Jacob

    John- obviously you have no respect for human beings if you think that all old people that are dying off are the ones that are against marijuana legalization – you should respect all humans that have lived a life on earth, because you are one of them. If you do your research, a majority of the yes votes were from Baby Boomers that were from the Hippie Generation – those people are in their 70s. There are A LOT of people that don’t comment on these websites that have full time jobs (where marijuana is not allowed) that are completely AGAINST legalization, and they are young adults. Marijuana is a drug and it is addicting for some (1 in 6) – legalization is not the answer, but criminal punishment is not the answer either. Children and young adults should not think it’s okay to smoke marijuana – it does cause long-term development problems resulting in a average of a 6 point decrease in IQ. You should do your research before just believing media opinion.

  • Raun

    Life supposed to be about freedom there are drinkers also smokers so if someone chooses to smoke and feel happy rather than drink and become vile #choices

  • Chris kolb

    It should be legal nationwide, but it should be illegal to smoke it in public or around anyone who doesn’t want it near them. Why does it have to be smoked anyway? Isn’t it stronger when you eat it?

  • alex

    Jacob obviously has no idea what he’s on about. Laughed so hard at weed reduces your iq. I can’t believe people actually want it to be illegal to smoke it in public, in that case ban tobacco in public because I hate being around it too.

  • Barb.

    I have been a pot smoker for over 30 years and I can still function in normal society, Sometimes even better than someone that doesn’t smoke it. I will continue to smoke no matter what. You know that alcohol kills more people than marijuana and it is legal. Same thing as smoking cigarettes, so why with our nation in so much debt can make so much money off of legalizing a plant that is grown in the stumps me. Take away alcohol and cigarettes and make them illegal and then talk..At least innocent people won’t be killed by smokers like they are from DRUNK DRIVERS.

  • jerry davison

    I’m a 55 year old pot smoker for 40 yeas and counting. In great shape and health. More than I can say about my old drinking buddies, two of whom have died of cirrhosis causing their families, and themselves, a lot of grief in the process.

  • junglewizz

    Jacob – And you did your research ? And that’s it ? The silly puritan one sided facts you stated, your 5 minute google shuffle on the subject ? Don’t be ridiculous. Since you’re taking sides you are obviously not qualified for suggesting any reasonable solutions. The solution is in responsible behavior and in minding your own business, 1st. Benevolent effects, starting from medical facts all the way up to the economy boost, are beyond count. Speaking of “dangers of marijuana” is as ridiculous as 60’s propaganda on the same subject. It could be tobacco or alcohol, it was nothing but a game of chance when the rules were set. And we’re about to fix this crooked game you blind and deaf puritans love to play so much, since you do not know for anything better. People like you are the ones that feed this hell of status quo, ignorant inertia driven conformists. Sad, sad people. Conditioned beyond repair. Phew.

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