WBZ-UMass Poll: Voters Favor Legal Recreational Marijuana, But Have Reservations

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s been 30 years since network censors removed this joke by comedian Sam Kinison from an episode of “Saturday Night Live”:

“They’ve taken the pot, there is no more pot. You can’t get any more pot. If you give us back the pot, we’ll forget the crack.”

Could life be about to imitate “art” here in Massachusetts?

Read: I-Team Pot Or Not

According to the new WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio, UMass Amherst Poll poll of 700 likely Massachusetts voters (margin of error +/-4.3%), Question 4 on the November ballot – “An initiative petition for a law relative to the regulation and taxation of marijuana” – which would legalize recreational use of pot, enjoys a 53-to-40 percent lead, with seven-percent still unsure.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

Support for the measure cuts across all demographic categories, with only voters over 55 years old and self-described conservatives opposing the measure.

If approved, Massachusetts would join Alaska, the District of Columbia, Colorado, Oregon and Washington state in legalizing possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana for personal use.

Marijuana edibles (WBZ-TV)

Marijuana edibles (WBZ-TV)

But before you start investing in snack-cake stocks, keep in mind that the battle over Question 4 is far from over. (Watch a WBZ-TV debate on the issue here.)

Thirty-six percent of opponents of the measure cited harm to individuals and society as their main reason for voting no, while 30-percent of supporters insist it’s “not as dangerous as other drugs.”

The WBZ poll offered respondents a string of legalized-marijuana scenarios and asked if any would bother them.

About a quarter of them claimed people growing pot in their homes would be troubling; another 11-percent were concerned about people using in their own homes.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

(WBZ-TV graphic)

But those numbers soared when pot enters the public realm. Forty-one percent say they’d be bothered if a pot store opened up in their neighborhood. Fifty-two percent didn’t like the idea of pot ads on TV or radio. And 61-percent expressed alarm over the prospect of people using in public.

“Asking the simple question – do you support legalization of marijuana – leads to a majority level of support,” says Tatishe Nteta, associate director of the UMass Amherst Poll. “But if you ask people to think about it, I think they still may have some reservations.”

More from Jon Keller

One Comment

  1. bees_knees_6 says:

    I have no problem with legalization. However, I would rather the state first work on making medical marijuana available to those who desperately need it.

    1. Doug says:

      Marijuana has been decriminalized since 2008 and State law makers claim they have been too busy to regulate marijuana, which is why we have this ballot question. Marijuana is currently widely available from your local drug dealer. The drug dealer is the true gateway and Question 4 will make it more difficult for drug dealers. So a NO vote on Question 4 is a vote to support your local drug dealer.

  2. Doug says:

    Question #4 is not really about legalizing marijuana, it is about regulating marijuana that has been decriminalized since 2008 and is widely available. This Boston University debate video clearly spells this out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjwlCmTvE44

  3. anon says:

    mind posting a PDF of the tabbed results? would love to dig into the numbers

  4. It’s absolutely clear the Cannabis is already in wide general use. The only open question is who will profit from the sales of cannabis, organized crime and criminals, or legitimate business with regulation and Taxation?

    An estimated 150 BILLION dollars in illegal cannabis sales occur every year here in the United States. Another 15 BILLION is wasted on the capture and persecution simple cannabis consumers. Another 30 BILLION is lost in potential tax revenue. Legalization solves all these issues and puts organized crime out of the cannabis business.

    Enough with the lies, just Legalize!!

  5. Rob Sargent says:

    Legalize it, vote yes on 4

  6. This question must past , because its first step to liberty so please people of Massachusetts vote YES We The people must stop prohibition this petition question does not go far enough to restrict employers for drug testing patients and the public though voluntary acts This law if and when it does come to be voted in We have 1 year to add issue to the law

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