A poll released last week found that voters favored a relaxation of marijuana laws by more than 3 to 1:
Of the three questions on the Massachusetts ballot this November, only one question -- #2 the decriminalization of marijuana -- appears all but certain to pass, according to a poll analysis released today by 7NEWS/Suffolk University. Seventy-two percent favored the proposed law, which would replace the criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a civil penalty of forfeiture of the marijuana and a fine of $100. Twenty-two percent opposed the proposed law.
"The public may be signaling that pursuing small-time marijuana users is a waste of taxpayer resources," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University. "This issue suggests that there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of Massachusetts voters."
But can that libertarian streak survive police pressure? Two years ago, a proposal to let more supermarkets sell wine seemed destined to pass -- until opponents started running TV commercials and organized a "vote no" rally with 27 police chiefs. Opponents charged that more (or at least more convenient) wine sales would mean more drunk driving, and a greater risk of underage drinking. Channel 5 reported on what happened next:
A poll by the Suffolk University Political Research Center suggested the lead enjoyed by supporters of Question 1 during the summer has evaporated.
The poll, conducted Oct. 3-5, showed 47 percent of likely voters in favor of allowing more food stores to sell wine, while 44 percent were opposed. In June, the same poll found 61 percent in favor and 31 percent opposed.
David Paleologos, director of the center, said the numbers should encourage the initiative's opponents.
"Right now the 'No' side is riding a very good trend," Paleologos said. "It's going to take some work to reverse that."
By Election Day, the pro-wine proposal lost by 12 points (41 percent to 53 percent, with 6 percent blank votes).
Anyone think the police chiefs are going to sit this one out?