- (Photo: Reuters/Rick Wilking)
A poll released Monday shows that almost half of Colorado residents have tried marijuana, which includes 15 percent of those who used it after its recreational use became legal Jan. 1. And more than 50 percent say legalized pot is good for the state, the survey says.
Just a little less than 50 percent of voters in Colorado admit they have tried marijuana, and 15 percent admit using it since it became legal, according to the Quinnipiac University poll, which adds that 38 percent of voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that a friend or family member has been over-using marijuana.
A constitutional amendment in Colorado, passed in November 2012, legalized recreational use of marijuana and went into effect Jan. 1 - although the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 still categorizes marijuana as a drug that is as dangerous as heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
"Colorado voters are generally good to go on grass, across the spectrum, from personal freedom to its taxpayer benefits to its positive impact on the criminal justice system," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said. "But if you are a politician, think twice before smokin' them if you got 'em."
While 52 percent said legalizing marijuana has been good for the state, the figure matches with those who say they are less likely to vote for a candidate for office who smokes marijuana two or three days a week, the poll adds.
Only 3 percent said they are more likely to vote for a marijuana-smoking candidate, while 43 percent say it would not affect their vote.
The survey, conducted from April 15–21 with 1,298 registered voters who were called by land lines and cell phones, says 38 percent believe legal pot is not good for the state, and 10 percent are unsure.
The acceptance of marijuana is lower particularly among Republican voters and those 65 or older, with 63 percent of them saying legalized marijuana has been bad for the state.
Fifty-three percent of voters believe legalized marijuana will save the state and taxpayers a significant amount of money, and 50 percent think it will have a positive impact on the state's criminal justice system.
Similarly, 53 percent say legalized marijuana "increases personal freedoms in a positive way," and 67 percent disagree it has "eroded the moral fiber" of people in Colorado.
A CNN/ORC International survey indicated in January that the number of people who say smoking pot is morally wrong had plunged, but the findings suggested the increase in support could not be generalized. Fifty-five percent of respondents said marijuana should be made legal, but 44 percent disagreed, according to the survey.
Marijuana is often compared with caffeine, but there's a difference, Christian theologian John Piper wrote on the blog of his Desiring God ministry recently. While marijuana "temporarily impairs the reliable processing of surrounding reality," caffeine "ordinarily sharpens that processing," he said.