Legalizing In November? Here is what the polls say...
Unless you have been living under a rock, you are likely aware the 2016 election is the biggest in the history of cannabis, with a record five states voting on recreational cannabis in November. Those states are California, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine.
There are currently four states that have already legalized recreational cannabis. Washington and Colorado did it in 2012, and Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. did it in 2014.
Michigan currently has a legal challenge to get a recreational cannabis initiative on the ballot, with a decision expected as early as this week from the Michigan Supreme Court. Only time will tell if Michigan joins the other five states.
Additionally, there was a legal challenge in Arizona. Cannabis opponents there tried to keep the initiative off the ballot, but were unsuccessful.
What are polls showing for each state? And what are the odds that all five states vote to legalize recreational cannabis in November, bringing the total number of legal states to 9 (plus D.C. of course)?
Poll results from a poll conducted by Berkley were released less than a month ago which found that 63.8% of poll participants supported legalizing cannabis in California in November. Younger voters were the most likely to support Proposition 64, the initiative to legalize cannabis in California, while the least likely demographic were people over 65.
A more recent poll, conducted by Topline found a whopping 71% support for the California initiative. That's the highest level of support to date for the initative.
California is obviously the largest 'prize' for cannabis reform this election cycle. California is arguably the largest domino yet to fall in the war against prohibition. Support for the initiative among cannabis enthusiasts has been mixed, but the polling among likely voters has been very strong, and the initiative has a great chance of passing.
Recent poll results in Nevada were less favorable, but still showed that more people support legalizing recreational cannabis than oppose it. A poll conducted by Rasmussen found that 50 percent of participants would approve recreational cannabis, while 41 percent were opposed, and 9 percent were undecided.
Nevada is going to be hard fought. Opponents have opened up shop there, and wealthy cannabis opposition funder Sheldon Adelson has been very active. There's still quite a bit of time left between now and election day by campaign standards, and anything can happen.
Arizona may have the hardest time out of all the states voting on recreational cannabis in November. Poll results from about 7 weeks ago found the initiative would lose if the election were held right then, with only 39 percent of voters supporting the initiative.
A more recent poll showed support at 50%, with 10.2% of voters undecided. That's well within striking distance for a victory, but too close for the campaign to feel comfortable I'm sure.
Polls always need to be taken with a grain of salt, but activists and campaign staffers have their work cut out for them in Arizona. The battle is far from over though, and victory is definitely achievable if undecided voters can be persuaded, and some of the opposition (52.5%) can be convinced to get on the right side of history.
Poll results from about 6 weeks ago found that the Massachusetts initiative was losing by a margin of 51% to 41%. But as I said with Arizona, the poll results need to be taken with a grain of salt.
There are 8 percent of poll participants who were undecided, and if all of them voted in favor of reform, and just a sliver of the opposition got on the right side of history, victory could be achieved. I've seen older polls which put the initiative in the winning realm, but those polls were older than this one, for what that's worth.
The Bangor Daily News put out poll results back in May, which admittedly isn't as recent as the other poll results provided for other states, but the poll went more in depth with two follow up questions.
Follow up questions are always good to ask because they provide insight into how voters will react when they learn more about the initiative from both the opposing and supporting sides. After all, voters will be presented with facts from both camps. Some of those voters are going to switch sides.
When asked if they support cannabis legalization, 55 percent of poll participants answered 'yes.' But when followed up with the question, 'regardless of how you feel about this specific initiative, do you favor or oppose taxing, regulating and legalizing marijuana for adults?', the number rose to 59 percent. This suggests that as voters get asked about it from different angles, they are more likely to support the initiative, which is significant. It suggests that Maine has a great chance of legalizing in November.
I have seen polls suggest an initiative will win on election day, just to see the initiative get trounced when the polls close, as in Ohio in 2015. Alternatively, I have also seen an initiative poll not-so-well, then pull it off on election day, as in Alaska in 2014. So anything is possible.
What do Green Flower readers think? Do you think that all five states will vote to legalize recreational cannabis in November? Or do you think that it will be a mix? Anyone out there bold enough to claim that no states will legalize in November? If so, is your name Kevin Sabet!?
How many states will vote to legalize recreational cannabis in November 2016?