LANSING, MI — Michigan voters remain divided on the prospects of statewide marijuana legalization, but with recreational use already allowed in Colorado and Washington state, advocates say momentum is on their side.
A new poll conducted by EPIC-MRA of Lansing shows that 50 percent of Michigan voters would be likely to support a future ballot proposal to legalize the possession or cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older and allow taxable sales at state-licensed stores.
A similar poll from a year earlier had pegged voter support for legalizing marijuana by taxing it and regulating it like alcohol at 47 percent.
The new survey of 600 likely voters, conducted December 10 through 14 with 20 percent of calls to cell phones, has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. The legalization question was commissioned by the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Forty six percent of respondents said they would vote against a future marijuana legalization ballot proposal, while four percent were undecided.
Matthew Abel, an attorney with the Cannabis Counsel in Detroit and executive director of MiNORML, said the latest numbers show that the public is “continuing to move in favor” of legalization.
“Once people understand the effect that it’s had and analyze the statistics, they generally agree it’s a net win for society,” said Abel. “…Everybody knows you can get marijuana anywhere, so it’s time that we remove the taint of prohibition and the ill effects.”
A statewide ballot proposal remains a hypothetical at this point. National funders usually want to see support at closer to 60 percent before backing what would surely be an expensive campaign, Abel said.
In the meantime, Abel said he’s hopeful the poll results will influence nontraditional funders or policy makers in Lansing, where bipartisan decriminalization legislation was introduced last session but did not advance.
Results of the Michigan poll appear consistent with national numbers. Fifty-one percent of Americans support legalization, according to an October Gallup poll, but that was down from a one-time peak of 58 percent in 2013.
The Gallup poll showed “that legalization is far from inevitable and the fight to stop it is far from over,” Kevin A. Sabet, the president of a group called Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said at the …Read More