Massachusetts marijuana ballot initiative support grows: poll

October 19, 2016 9:02 AM EDT

A thriving marijuana plant is seen at a grow operation in Denver, Colorado December 31, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo


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BOSTON (Reuters) - Some 55 percent of likely Massachusetts voters are leaning toward voting to legalize recreational use of marijuana by adults in a ballot initiative next month, more than supported the idea a month ago, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

A poll conducted for WBUR, a Boston public radio station, by MassINC Polling Group also found that 40 percent of 502 likely voters polled Oct. 13-16 opposed the measure. That was a wider margin of support than the 50 percent support and 45 percent opposition the poll found last month.

The poll, which has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, found that 84 percent of likely voters would not be bothered by people using marijuana in their own homes, though 64 percent said they would object to people using it in public.

Respondents were evenly split on whether they had ever used marijuana, with 49 percent saying they had and 49 percent saying they had not.

The measure would allow adults over 21 to use and possess marijuana and create a tax system that would generate revenue from its sale in the state. If it passes in the Nov. 8 election, marijuana would become legal in December.

Massachusetts is one of five U.S. states where voters this year will determine whether to legalize the recreational use of the drug. Other states holding similar referendums are California, Maine, Nevada and Arizona.

Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have already legalized its recreational use.

Proponents of the measure argue that the drug is no more dangerous than alcohol and that legalizing its use could allow police to focus on more serious crimes.

Opponents contend that it poses significant health risks and legalizing the sale to adults could make it easier for minors to buy marijuana.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)



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