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Polls: Marijuana initiatives in danger of losing

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
DENVER (BP) -- Ballot initiatives in three states that would legalize marijuana are all under 50 percent in the latest polls -- a sign that all three could be defeated.

No state allows the recreational usage of marijuana, but that could change Nov. 6 when voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington consider the issue.

In Colorado, a Denver Post survey of 614 likely voters shows the measure there (Amendment 64) leading, 48-43 percent, with 9 percent undecided. A month ago, it led 51-40 percent.

In Oregon, a SurveyUSA poll of 579 likely voters has that state's initiative (Measure 80) trailing, 43-36 percent, with 21 percent undecided.

And in Washington, an Elway Poll of 451 likely voters shows a marijuana initiative (I-502) leading 48-44 percent.

Typically, ballot initiatives that fall under 50 percent in pre-election polls have difficulty passing.

The Colorado group opposing the initiative in that state says marijuana legalization is bad for teens and children.

"For children and young adults, smoking marijuana permanently affects brain development, impairs learning ability and contributes to depression," the No on 64 campaign says on its website. "Adolescents are more likely than adults to develop problems with marijuana abuse and addiction. Marijuana abuse accounts for 67 percent of the adolescents in substance-abuse treatment programs in the United States."


An August study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) showed that individuals who regularly use marijuana during their teenage years have an average drop in I.Q. of eight points and are vulnerable to mental health problems.

The same Colorado group also said marijuana legalization would make roads more dangerous.

"According to recent statistics, between 2006 and 2010, more than 400 people were killed in Colorado from car crashes involving a driver who was on drugs," the group says. "Smoking pot reduces coordination and impairs decision-making which will lead to a significant increase in the number of crashes and deaths due to people who are driving under the influence of marijuana."

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