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Poll: Coloradans back legal pot, 15 percent used

First Published Apr 28 2014 05:29 pm • Last Updated Apr 28 2014 11:00 pm

Denver • Coloradans think marijuana legalization has been good for the state, though just 15 percent have used pot since recreational sales began in January, according to a poll released Monday.

Fifty-two percent said marijuana legalization has been beneficial, 38 percent said it has been bad for the state, and 10 percent were unsure, according to the Quinnipiac University poll. Asked whether legalization has "eroded the moral fiber" of people in Colorado, 30 percent agreed, and 67 percent disagreed.

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Marijuana activists praised Monday’s poll results, especially the 53-41 margin agreeing that legal pot "will save the state and taxpayers a significant amount of money."

"Not only has the sky not fallen, the forecast is as bright as ever" for economic growth from legal pot, said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Pollsters conducted the telephone survey April 15-21 with 1,298 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 points.

Coloradans did not seem to think legal pot has made driving more dangerous. Asked whether legalization has made driving less safe, 54 percent said no and 39 percent said yes.

Residents were more divided on legal pot’s effect on the criminal justice system. Fifty percent said legalization will have a positive impact on it, 40 percent said it will have a negative impact, the rest were unsure. Just 21 percent said they thought marijuana legalization would reduce racially biased arrests.

Coloradans might be OK with marijuana, but they’re not clamoring to see politicians using it frequently.

Asked whether they’d be more or less likely to vote for a candidate for elected office who smokes marijuana two or three days a week, just 3 percent said more likely. Fifty-two percent said they’d be less likely to vote for the candidate, with the rest saying it would make no difference or they were unsure.

Gina Carbone, of Smart Colorado, a critic of the current marijuana industry, said she’s been hearing an outpouring of concern about Colorado’s marijuana landscape, especially after the April 20 celebrations that put mass public toking on the national news.

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"There’s been tremendous backlash" at the sight of public smoking, Carbone said. And recent news of deaths that may be connected to marijuana consumption has heightened worries.

"We are hearing nothing but people complaining and emailing out of concern for what is going on," she said.

The poll also asked about same-sex marriage and found Coloradans support it nearly 2-to-1. Sixty-one percent supported same-sex marriage in Colorado, while 33 percent opposed it, and 7 percent were unsure.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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