Until the actual election day, polling registered voters is the best way to determine how likely it is that a particular ballot initiative will pass, or which candidate is more likely to be chosen for a specific role. With less than six weeks left until the election, people want to get an idea of how things are going to turn out – and for the legalization efforts in Massachusetts, things are definitely looking up with a slight increase in the most recent polls, which show that 53% of registered voters would vote in favor, 40% intend to vote against it and only 7% are still undecided on the matter.
This should be extremely good news for the group hoping to see Question 4 pass this year, effectively legalizing the adult use of cannabis for individuals 21 and older. Unfortunately, these are only polls and they only reflect the views of a small number of voters when compared to the turnout we will see during an election – but it does give us a good idea of roughly where the voters stand. When asked why they opposed Question 4, 36% of voters cited harm to individuals and society as their reasoning, 14% believe it is a gateway drug (a very outdated theory at this point), and 10% said it increases crime or is dangerous.
Interestingly, voters in Massachusetts seem to realize that prohibition is a failed system – the majority definitely believe legalization is the right way to go – but when asked questions regarding how they feel about different aspects of legalization people are still a little more reserved on the idea. Voters were asked a series of questions and asked whether or not these situations would bother them – as it turns out, it would bother 61% of people if people were able to smoke cannabis in public, 52% would be bothered by advertisements on television and radio and 41% would be bothered if a dispensary opened up in their neighborhood.
Along with those three scenarios they were also asked how they felt about adults growing cannabis in their homes as well as adults using cannabis in their homes – about 25% said allowing home cultivation would be a concern and 11% said allowing people to consume it in their homes would concern them. While these two figures are certainly well below those of the previous three questions, it still shows quite a bit of fear towards the use of cannabis – though the majority of people who said they were opposed to it also describe themselves as rather conservative and are over the age of 55 – so it does make a bit of sense. Hopefully these are all good signs and we will see Massachusetts, among other states, joining the legal cannabis industry following the November election.