Two years after voting for recreational marijuana, a majority of Oregon voters view the policy as a success, according to a new poll.
Sixty-one percent of voters think the legalization of recreational marijuana has had a positive impact on the state, while fewer than one-third see it negatively, according to polling by DHM Research, a nonpartisan opinion research firm with an office in Portland.
In 2014, 56 percent of Oregon voters said yes to legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
DHM Research paid for the poll. John Horvick, the firm’s vice president and political director, said his firm decided to conduct the poll because the topic comes up frequently in the cities and counties where the company works, and it made sense to gain “more insight about what the mood was.”
The poll found that while most voters see legalization as a positive, older voters are more skeptical than younger ones. Fifty-three percent of voters 65 and older, for instance, think the new law has been negative, while 24 percent of people younger than 65 see it that way.
Republicans, too, were less positive, with 52 percent viewing legal cannabis negatively.
Meanwhile, Democrats and non-affiliated voters or voters in another party overwhelmingly think legal cannabis has been positive.
“Big picture, I think Oregonians are relatively satisfied,” Horvick said. “I don’t think a lot of minds have changed, but the general acceptance of marijuana continues apace. There hasn’t been a backlash.”
The poll also found that most voters oppose bans on recreational marijuana sales (The poll did not address medical marijuana). Fifty communities from Lake Oswego to Pendleton will vote in November on a range of questions that, in essence, boil down to whether they should allow legal marijuana businesses within their borders.
Sixty percent of voters statewide oppose bans on recreational marijuana sales, the poll found.
Opposition to bans is strongest in the Portland area, while a smaller majority of voters outside of the metro area oppose them. In the Portland area, 67 percent oppose bans; outside of the region, 54 percent are opposed.
Oregon voters also favor local sales taxes on recreational marijuana, the poll found. Sixty-nine percent of voters approve of local taxes on cannabis.
Local governments may impose a sales tax of as much as 3 percent on recreational marijuana, but the tax must be approved by voters. The local tax is on top of the 17 percent tax the state will impose on recreational sales starting when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission begins regulating the market later this year.
According to the Oregon Department of Revenue, a local tax is on the November ballot in 106 communities, including Portland, where officials conservatively estimated it will generate $3 million to $5 million a year.
“Though some may not view legalization positively in the abstract, an overwhelming majority believe their communities should seek benefits in the form of increased tax revenues,” Horvick said.
The poll found a high level of support that was “nearly universal” across demographic groups, including party and geography.
“Taken as a whole, these results reveal that revenue may reign supreme when it comes to recreational marijuana in Oregon,” the firm said in a summary of its poll results.
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Most Oregonians View Legal Pot Favorably 2 Years After Vote
Author: Noelle Crombie
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