LANSING, MI — A small majority of Michigan voters support the legalization of recreational marijuana, according to the results of a new statewide poll, but many Republicans and older voters remain opposed.
The Marketing Resource Group survey of 600 likely voters revealed 51 percent support for legalizing marijuana “if it was regulated and taxed like alcohol.” Another 45 percent of respondents were opposed.
The live operator poll, conducted April 13 through 17, included a mix of landline and cell phone calls.
The results come as at least three separate groups are eyeing possible 2016 ballot proposals to tax and regulate marijuana. One of those groups, headed by two well-known Oakland County Republicans, has talked about regulating the drug “like alcohol.”
The poll question did not describe Michigan’s current regulatory system for alcohol, which involves a three-tiered system of suppliers, wholesale distributors and retailers.
Support for legalization was highest amongst Democrats and young people. However, only 36 percent of self-identified Republicans offered support. Likewise, only 37 percent of voters over the age of 65 said they support legalization, while 50 percent were “strongly” opposed.
“While attitudes toward marijuana may be mellowing, most Republican voters and those 65 and older are still not ready to legalize it,” said Tom Shields, president of MRG. “Maybe support for the legalization of marijuana would grow if they suggested using pot taxes to fill the pot holes. I would not be surprised to see a successful ballot proposal within the next few years.”
Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee, an activist-led group seeking to put more of a “craft beer” legalization model on the 2016 ballot, is proposing that a share of marijuana tax revenue go to roads.
Another group, the Michigan Cannabis Coalition, is proposing a centralized regulation concept with revenue for public safety, health and education.
The Michigan Responsibility Council, the Oakland County group that is also considering a ballot measure, has discussed regulating marijuana like alcohol but has not yet announced any specific plans.
Voters in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon have chosen to legalize recreational marijuana in recent years. The drug remains illegal at the federal level.
Jonathan Oosting is a Capitol reporter for MLive Media Group. Email him, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.
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