- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Colorado has been a test case for marijuana legalization in recent months. Yes, it could prove to be an economic boom. But voters already have remorse over the legislation: Recent polling from Quinnipiac University reveals that majorities are not eager to mar Colorado’s “wholesome” image, or replace it with something more, uh, cosmic.

Alaska, where the legalization issue will appear on an public ballot this fall, faces similar concerns.

The interest group “Big Marijuana-Big Mistake-Vote No on 2” is registered with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, and demand that “Ballot Measure 2,” which would legalize weed, be defeated. The group’s treasurer, Deborah Williams, a youth counselor, calls the measure “extreme” and is annoyed by cute marijuana ads in Colorado that mask serious health concerns.

“She also questions whether Alaskans would be OK knowing that potent marijuana products like hash oil, wax, crumble and shatter would be legal under the proposed initiative,” writes Alaska News reporter Suzanna Caldwell, citing the street names of the stuff.

Ms. Williams has competition from the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska, funded by the Marijuana Policy Project, a national interest group which has drawn 45,000 signatures to a pro-weed petition. While Colorado and Washington state sort out legalization complexities, Ms. Williams hopes Alaska will hold off on big decisions.

“What do we want our state to look like?” she asks. “Right now, the costs far outweigh the benefits.”

But things are complicated.

Mason Tvert,  director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, is concerned that the public could be misled over claims there’s voter remorse about marijuana legalization.

In an email Wednesday to The Watercooler, Mr. Tvert says this:

“[The Watercooler] asserted Colorado voters ‘already have remorse over the legislation” that made marijuana legal in 2012, citing a February Quinnipiac poll that found a majority (51 percent) believe it has been bad for the state’s image. Yet it failed to mention or take into account the fact that the same poll found a much larger majority (58 percent) support the actual legislation. In fact, support for the law is now 3 points higher than when voters approved it in 2012 (55 percent). It is inaccurate to say voters ‘have remorse over the legislation’ when the only evidence out there suggests more of them support it now than when they originally approved it.”

“Concerns about the image of the state clearly have nothing to do with how voters view the law. Rather, they reflect the nature and volume of the media coverage surrounding the law, and the mischaracterization of voters’ approval is an example of that.” 


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