An increased number of Arizona voters support the 2010 Medical Marijuana Act, and most would vote to end marijuana prohibition, a new poll shows.
The number 59 keeps coming up in the poll. That's the percentage of Arizonans who either strongly support, or just plain support:
* The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
* Ending prohibition and making marijuana legal for adults to use.
* A hypothetical future ballot proposition in Arizona that would aim to regulate marijuana like alcohol, making it legal for those 21 and over to use and buy in government-regulated shops.
The nearly 60 percent of Arizona voters supporting the law and overall legalization represent a growing trend in the country toward the elimination of pot prohibition laws. In November, Colorado and Washington voters approved regulating marijuana like alcohol.
In the election of 2010, more than 841,000 Arizona voters said "yes" to Proposition 203, but nearly as many as said "no." The initiative passed by 4,341 votes.
The poll shows that support for the 2010 law has apparently increased, despite criticism of the medical-marijuana program by opponents.
The marijuana debate is still polarizing, with most respondents said they "strongly" supported or opposed the ideas.
Republicans, it won't surprise you, oppose Arizona's 2010 law more than Democrats. Forty-eight percent of Republicans "strongly oppose" the law, while 6 percent say they oppose it, but not strongly.
Independents support the law and marijuana legalization in high numbers.
The poll would seem to rob momentum from a plan by State Representative John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, to get a referendum passed that would ask voters to repeal the law in a 2014 ballot initiative.
And it shows that attacks on Arizona's voter-approved law by Republican leaders including Governor Jan Brewer, state Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery actually run counter to what most voters want.
"The momentum is clearly on our side," says Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. "But it's not really surprising. We've had this law on the books for two years, and the sky certainly hasn't fallen. We've seen teen use actually on the decline in Arizona."
Smith says a ballot initiative for full-blown legalization in Arizona could be offered in the future. For now, the focus of his group -- which lobbies on behalf of members -- is making sure the Arizona program gets up and running as voters intended. He believes public support will grow even further, and that "any move to undo the medical-marijuana law is actually serving the interests of the drug cartels south of the border."
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