More than 90 percent of the respondents who voted in the 2012 election on Amendment 64 – the measure allowing adults to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana passed 54.8 percent to 45.1 percent – said they would vote the same way today.
“I’d say there’s still a lot of work to be done, especially if the priority is to keep it out of the hands of children and away from drivers, to make sure people are not driving intoxicated,” said Dan Berlau, a 35-year-old poll respondent from Denver who voted for legalization and would do so again. “But despite those shortcomings, in general, people who worried the sky would fall have been proved wrong.”
What did people think would happen when Colorado legalized pot? Increased use of hard drugs, increased underage usage, more intoxicated driving, increased crime and delinquency, etc., etc. None of these things happened. Most of those statistics either held steady or actually decreased.
So supporters of legalized pot don’t have much reason to change their minds. But the rest of the country, which has been watching Colorado closely to see what would happen, might be changing their minds.
Keeping pot illegal bears a strong resemblance to Prohibition. In fact, one of the survey respondents on the Colaroda pot survey says he remembers Prohibition, and it wasn’t a good policy:
Survey respondent Byron St. Clair of Westminster said he’s old enough to remember Prohibition – and he doesn’t think that turned out well.
“The negative effects of trying to enforce a ban on marijuana exceed the bad effects of letting people have it,” said St. Clair, 90. “It’s not a good idea, and I wish people wouldn’t do it, but trying to stop them is not practical. We’ve already got too many people in jail. The tax revenue (with legalization) is all well and good, but I don’t want our police force taken up trying to chase down people selling a little bit of marijuana.”
Wise words, no matter what your personal preference for pot usage.