DENVER — A new poll is encouraging for people who want to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Colorado.
The survey taken last week by Public Policy Polling shows 53 percent of Colorado voters support Amendment 64, and 43 percent are against it.
In the final days before election days, both those for and against legalizing pot, are making their closing arguments.
It’s a vote that’s being watched by marijuana advocates and opponents all across the country. The issue is getting national attention. Amendment 64 was recently the subject of a segment on “60 Minutes.”
If passed, Amendment 64 will allow Coloradans who are of age to buy up to one ounce of marijuana, the equivalent of about 60 joints. It will be sold by licensed retailers, and taxed, much like the booze you buy at liquor stores. The Yes on 64 supporters say it’s about time.
“Coloradans get it. Coloradans get it better than most other people in the country, and for some time people in Colorado have understood the failed policy of prohibition, and they’re ready to make the change,” says Betty Aldworth, Yes on 64 advocacy director.
But educators, Colorado district attorneys, police chiefs, Denver’s mayor and others have come out against it, saying it’s wrong and dangerous.
“It’s rather simple: more pot means more pot, and more pot means more kids will have access,” says Laura Chapin, No on 64 spokesperson.
They also worry about an increase in the number of drivers being stoned. “We’re promoting Colorado as a wonderful place to bring your family and go skiing and go climb mountains and enjoy the great outdoors,” Chapin says. “And if we all the sudden become the marijuana capital of the U.S., that`s not going to be good for Colorado`s brand.”
But the Yes on 64 supporters, who have an organized and well-funded campaign, say marijuana is safer than alcohol, and wasting their time and millions of our taxpayer dollars enforcing marijuana laws when they could be cracking down on more serious crimes.
“Prohibiting marijuana entirely for adults has not in any way impacted the use or availability rates for youth or adults for the last 40 years,” Aldworth says.
It’s an issue that has thrust Colorado into the national spotlight, and if polls are correct, the vote will be close.
The poll shows support is very generational. 73 percent of Coloradans under age 30 want pot legalized, while more than half of seniors are against it.
You can expect more TV and radio ads in the coming days as both sides try to sway public opinion.