New Poll shows RI voters favor legal pot

Jan 28, 2014

In the run up to a Super Bowl between two teams from states that have legalized marijuana, thus giving whole new meaning to the term Bud Bowl, pollsters are taking the pulse of public opinion on  the issue in other states.

Today, Public Policy Polling released a public opinion survey that shows 53 percent of Rhode Island voters support changing the state’s laws to sell, regulate and tax pot in a manner similar to alcohol.

The survey of 683 voters was done between January 14 and 15 and carries an error margin of about 4 percent. The poll showed 53 percent in favor of following Colorado and Washington state in legalizing  pot, with 41 percent opposed and 6 percent undecided.

The survey showed that more men than women support legal marijuana. Fifty-eight percent of men support legalization compared to 47 percent of women. The poll also showed that more Democrats than Republicans support legalization, with 60 percent of Democrats  backing legal pot compared to 45 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of independents.

The results mirror a national shift in attitudes toward marijuana, away from prohibition of the weed and toward regulation and treating pot like alcohol. Earlier this month, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to regulate marijuana like alcohol. And voters in both Colorado and Washington State approved legal pot in statewide referenda.

In the Rhode Island General Assembly, legislation to legalize pot has received discussion, but has not been approved by either the state House of Senate. One of the top advocates in the House is Judiciary Chairman Edith Ajello, D-Providence.