A new poll from Quinnipiac University found that Colorado residents are cool with their state's new marijuana law. But that hardly means they're ready to support politicians who take advantage of it.
The Coloradans surveyed had a rosy view of the state's marijuana-legalization law, which went into effect Jan. 1. Most voters think the law will bring tax revenue into the state — indeed, the state is projected to raise nearly $100 million from marijuana sales this year. They also believe the law has helped Colorado's criminal-justice system, and that it "increases personal freedoms in a positive way." Almost half of voters admitted to using marijuana at some point in their lives. While most voters overall support the law — 54 percent to 43 percent — the only subsets who don't think the law is good for the state are Republicans and voters over the age of 65. But to those naysayers, most Coloradans are saying, "Don't harsh my mellow, bro."
Still, that doesn't mean Coloradans are comfortable with the idea of their elected officials toking up. More than half of the poll's respondents — 52 percent — said they'd be less likely to vote for a political candidate who smokes marijuana "two or three days a week." Forty-three percent said a candidate's marijuana use would not affect their vote, while 3 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for the candidate.
And it shows there are still radically different attitudes toward alcohol versus marijuana. Just look at Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was a beer entrepreneur before he was elected. If a majority of voters were worried about candidates who drink beer "two or three days a week," we'd be forced to live in an anarchic society.
To be fair, voters hold political candidates to higher standards than what's legal — or voters' own moral codes. Adultery isn't illegal, either, but it has ended many a political career nonetheless. Other acts of impropriety can have a severe impact on how voters view their representatives.
Moral rectitude is important to voters, and while they can abide by their neighbors getting blazed after a long day of work, politicians might want to lay off the mind-altering substances. So sorry, Tommy Chong. Better luck next election cycle.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.