Connect with us


More Than A Decade After Approving Marijuana Legalization, Colorado Voters’ Support Continues To Grow, New Polls Show



More than a decade after Colorado voters approved a ballot measure making their state the first in the U.S. to launch legal adult-use marijuana sales, two new polls show that they don’t regret that decision.

Roughly two thirds of registered voters (67 percent) recently told the Colorado Polling Institute that they see the reform, known as Amendment 64, as a positive change for the state.

A separate survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that more than 7 in 10 (71 percent) Colorado voters think cannabis should be legal and regulated similarly to alcohol, while less than a quarter of respondents (23 percent) said they believe cannabis should be prohibited.

Seventy percent of those surveyed by PPP also said cannabis regulations should be no more restrictive than those around alcohol.

The results indicate that Colorado voters have become even more supportive of legalization since they approved the reform measure by a 55 percent to 44 percent margin in 2012.

Colorado Leads, an industry organization that represents licensed cannabis companies and ancillary businesses, said results of the two surveys indicate that support for legalization “has grown significantly since voters made the decision to end prohibition and start regulating marijuana for adult use.’

“We now have more than a decade of experience that shows legalizing and regulating marijuana works,” Chuck Smith, the trade group’s president, said in a statement about the new poll results. “Colorado’s experience has also proven that many legalization opponents’ fears were unfounded. It should come as little surprise that there is now far less opposition to legalization.”

Among the surveys’ other findings, the PPP poll published this month found that 56 percent of respondents said the state-legal marijuana industry has had a positive impact on the state economy. More than 6 in 10 (63 percent) said marijuana tax revenue has been important for the state.

“The past couple years have been challenging for the regulated cannabis industry, so it is heartening to see most voters recognize its significant economic contribution to Colorado,” Smith said. “The state lost several thousand cannabis jobs since last year, but it is still creating countless opportunities for Colorado workers and businesses. Marijuana tax revenue has far exceeded original expectations, and to date it has generated more than $2.6 billion for everything from school construction projects to mental health services.”

A recent report by cannabis staffing agency Vangst found that while the legal marijuana industry nationwide supports more full-time equivalent jobs than it did a year before, Colorado’s cannabis sector lost 16 percent of its positions over the past year.

The PPP survey this month found that 21 percent of respondents have friends, family members or acquaintances who work either directly for a marijuana business or for a company that provides services to the industry.

The PPP poll was conducted April 8–9 and surveyed 698 registered voters in the state, while results from the Colorado Polling Institute survey were published in March.

Meanwhile in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis (D) said earlier this month that while federal marijuana legalization is the ultimate goal, incremental rescheduling and cannabis banking reform are important “dominoes” that could help pave the way. He said his state continues to have “very strong conversations with the White House” about the need for policy change.

He also noted his work to promote the passage of federal cannabis banking reform legislation, including a letter he led with 22 other governors urging congressional leaders to act on the bill.

Polis also reflected on how he used to joke about not wanting other states to enact legalization because Colorado’s market benefitted from the additional out-of-state cannabis tourism.

“A lot of other states have” legalized marijuana since, he said. “So that means there’s less tourism, of course, and we’re a little bit less special—but we are going to continue to lead in this area and double down.”

Polis, advocates and industry stakeholders also marked the 10-year anniversary of adult-use cannabis sales in Colorado last December, with the governor saying his state “has developed one of the leading regulatory systems in the world and inspired countless others like it across the country and around the globe.”

The governor also frequently touts the economic benefits of legalization. And to that point, Colorado has seen more than $15 billion in legal marijuana sales since opening day a decade ago.

The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Council Staff (LCS) released a report in August showing that Colorado generated more tax revenue from cannabis than alcohol or cigarettes during the last fiscal year

Another key marker of the state’s regulatory success is the effectiveness of youth access restrictions, with the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) recently touting an ID verification compliance rate of 99 percent at the state’s cannabis businesses.

Joe Biden And Kamala Harris Tweet About Marijuana At Exactly 4:20 On 4/20

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Ben Adlin, a senior editor at Marijuana Moment, has been covering cannabis and other drug policy issues professionally since 2011. He was previously a senior news editor at Leafly, an associate editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He lives in Washington State.


Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.