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Arizona support is high for legalizing marijuana, but is it high enough?

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PHOENIX – While support for legalizing marijuana in Arizona outpaces opposition by 10 percentage points, according to a new poll, advocates shouldn’t spark up that victory joint just yet.

Fifty percent of likely voters believe marijuana should be legal for use by all adults, while 40% oppose the idea and 10% are undecided, according to an OH Predictive Insights poll released Tuesday.

Marijuana is currently legal in the state only for medical use with a prescription.

The polling was done shortly after Smart & Safe Arizona filed an initiative last month to put the issue before voters again. The advocacy group needs to gather 240,000 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot in November 2020.

A similar proposal was voted down 51.3% to 48.7% in 2016.

In 2018, a group called Safer Arizona tried getting the legalization question on the ballot but collected only about half the necessary signatures.

The new poll of 600 likely Arizona voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4% and was conducted Aug. 13-14, less than a week after the new initiative was filed.

While the results are positive for supporters, they don’t mean the measure is destined to pass easily.

The rule of thumb for ballot initiatives is “you typically want your support somewhere in the 60s,” Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insights chief of research, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“Essentially, once messaging gets out there and the ‘no’ side starts coming after you, it’s kind of a controlled crash as you go from the start down to Election Day,” Noble said.

“So it will be interesting to see how this develops over time.”

OH Predictive Insights has been following the issue in Arizona since 2016. In February of this year, supporters were in the majority for the first time, with 52% in favor, 41% against and 7% undecided.

Support actually dropped in Maricopa County since May by 8 percentage points into a 44%-44% tie with those opposing. However, it went up by 9 percentage points in rural regions and 8 percentage points in Pima County.

“It’s interesting that we saw a bit of growth in the rural portions of Arizona,” Noble said. “I’m curious to see why that is.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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