The Washington Post

More Colorado voters report trying pot since it became legal

Partygoers dance and smoke pot at the annual 4/20 marijuana festival in Denver on April 19. (Brennan Linsley/AP)

Nearly eight months into Colorado’s first-of-its-kind experiment, a small but slowly growing share of voters report having tried marijuana since its sale for recreational use began  Jan. 1.

The vast majority — 83 percent — still say they have not tried the drug since the start of the year, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll, but that is down from 84 percent in April and 89 percent in February. The share of those who report having consumed the drug since its recreational use was legalized has grown from 10 to 15 to 16 percent.

Most voters say the drug should be regulated as strictly as alcohol, even though larger shares of nearly every demographic believe alcohol to be more harmful. Some 61 percent believe marijuana should be regulated as strictly as alcohol, while 29 percent say it should be regulated more severely. One in 10 says it should be less-strictly regulated than booze.

Despite the commonly held view that the two should be regulated similarly, every demographic group by age, gender and party believes alcohol to be more harmful to an individual’s health.

And, with one exception, larger shares of every demographic also believe alcohol has a more harmful effect on society. Among individuals 65 or older, however, 37 percent believe marijuana is more harmful compared to 35 percent who say the same of alcohol.

Roughly two out of three Coloradan voters also said the drug should be: banned from bars and clubs where alcohol is served; banned from entertainment venues where admission is charged; and allowed in marijuana-only clubs. Voters are roughly split on allowing pot at invitation-only, no-admission entertainment events and roughly 3 in 4 say its consumption should be allowed at home.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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