Dana Cain, director of the Denver County Fair, shows a poster advertising the fair at a print shop in Denver, Monday Jan. 27, 2014. Colorado's Denver County is adding cannabis-themed contest to its 2014 summer fair. (Associated Press file)

Poll: Coloradans still like legalization, but doubts creeping in

More than half of Coloradans say marijuana legalization has been bad for the state’s image, even though a majority also continue to support the new laws, according to a poll released Monday.

Fifty-one percent of Coloradans surveyed for a Quinnipiac University poll said they thought legalization has been bad for Colorado’s image. However, 58 percent of people said they continue to support marijuana legalization. That’s even more than the 54 percent of people who told Quinnipiac pollsters last summer they supported legalization.

Amendment 64, the law that legalized marijuana use for people over 21 in Colorado, passed in November 2012, with 55 percent support.

Despite the support for legalization, the poll finds Coloradans more tepid on marijuana use.

Ten percent of those surveyed said they had used marijuana since recreational pot shops opened in January. According to Quinnipiac, all survey participants were over 18. That use figure matches almost exactly with what federal researchers found for over-18 use in Colorado in 2011 and 2012 as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Only 17 percent of those surveyed said they would be somewhat or very likely to try marijuana brownies if a friend brought them to a party. Seventy percent said they would be very unlikely to try them.

Overall, 51 percent of those surveyed said they had used marijuana at some point in their lives.

Survey participants were also conflicted about marijuana home-growing. Nearly three-quarters of those polled said they wouldn’t mind if their neighbors grew marijuana at home. But 81 percent said they don’t think people should be allowed to grow more than 12 plants at home.

“Coloradans don’t mind if their neighbors grow a little grass in their living room, but the prospect of big time grow houses next door is a turnoff,” Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement accompanying the poll’s release.

More than half of Coloradans say they approve of the way Gov. John Hickenlooper is handling marijuana policy, though that support mostly comes from Democrats. Only 48 percent of independents support Hickenlooper’s marijuana policies, and only 32 percent of Republicans do.

The finding fits with the overall partisan schism in the poll. Republicans were the only political affiliation to say they oppose marijuana legalization, and 73 percent of them think legalization has been bad for Colorado’s image. Republicans were also least likely to say they had ever used marijuana or had used marijuana since Jan. 1.

For the poll, Quinnipiac surveyed 1,139 registered Colorado voters via both land-line telephone and cellphones. The poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Earlier this month, Quinnipiac released a poll showing that 3 percent of Coloradans consider marijuana policy the most important issue for them in deciding how to vote in this year’s governor’s race. While that’s a relatively small portion — 12 percent of people said the economy was the most important issue — marijuana did come out ahead of issues like health care, the environment, abortion, government spending and the candidate’s trustworthiness.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, jingold@denverpost.com or twitter.com/john_ingold

This story was first published on DenverPost.com