A majority of Washington voters lean toward supporting legalized marijuana in the state, but many say they “need to know more,” according to a newly released Elway Poll.
“There were equivalent numbers of ‘definite supporters’ and ‘definite opponents’ among the 408 voters interviewed by The Elway Poll last week: However, there were twice as many who were ‘inclined to support’ legalization as ‘inclined to oppose’,” the poll reported.
Overall, 54 percent of those surveyed definitely support marijuana legalization or are “inclined to support it but I need to know more”: 43 percent are definitely opposed or inclined to oppose. Just 3 percent are undecided on the issue.
The poll found that pot reveals cleavages by geography, age and political affiliation across the Evergreen State.
A high 77 percent of Seattle voters definitely support or are inclined to support legalization of cannabis. Just 9 percent are definitely opposed. In Eastern Washington, by contrast, supporting categories total just 41 percent, with 48 percent definitely opposed to legalization.
Sixty percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Independents definitely support or are inclined to support marijuana legalization. But 60 percent of Republicans surveyed by Elway were “definitely opposed” — despite support from such conservative voices as The Seattle Times editorial page.
Seniors are far more likely to turn up their noses at cannabis, despite arguments that smoking or ingesting marijuana eases pain. Fifty-seven percent of those over 65 in the survey told Elway they are definitely opposed or inclined to oppose.
Among those aged 18 to 35, by contrast, 63 percent could be found in the “definitely” or “inclined” support categories, with just 28 percent definitely opposed to legalization.
As well, a small but definite gender gap was revealed in the poll.
Fifty-nine percent of men surveyed in the poll came down in the two support categories, compared to 49 percent of women. Thirty-five percent of women are definitely opposed to legalization, and just 30 percent of men.
A proposal, announced last month with bipartisan backing, would authorize state government to license and tax sales of marijuana. The Elway Poll reported:
“The idea that state government would license and tax marijuana sales was a net positive. Overall, more survey respondents said that would make them more inclined to favor (44 percent) than to oppose (30 percent) the initiative now circulating to legalize marijuana in Washington state.
Possession and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. A left-right team of Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, recently introduced legislation that would put states in control over legalization.
– Article originally from Seattle P-I.