• Elway Research

One week after supporters turned in more than 340,000 signatures for a marijuana-legalization initiative, an Elway Research poll released today finds that 48 percent of Washington State voters would vote to approve and 45 percent would vote to reject marijuana legalization. This is down six points from a poll in summer that found 54 percent supported legalization. (As a quick caveat: The previous poll asked about "support" and this one asked how people would "vote," which Elway dismisses as being statistically insignificant. He's probably right, but I have long held is actually an important nuance: Supporting an abstract idea is different than committing to a new statewide policy.)

This is a bad place for initiative proponents to find themselves. The inevitable onslaught from the loony left that wants a free-for-all on pot and the lock-'em-up right that believes pot is a gateway to cocaine addiction stand to further weaken support unless campaigners can raise some serious dough for an ad campaign this fall.

That said, I'm not sure how significant these numbers about the undefined concept of legalization are for telegraphing support Initiative 502, which appears headed to the ballot in November. That initiative is a specific taxation and regulation proposal including lots of features voters tend to like: oversight from the liquor board, state-licensed cultivation and distribution, age limits on use, prohibition on home growing (for non-medical marijuana patients), a specific anti-DUI provision, and the prospect of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues.

Here's the full report.

Not everyone in Seattle will be concerned by the news. A handful of anti-legalization medical marijuana activists—who have been claiming that the DUI provision and the home growing provisions would be too strict—are most likely lighting up their spliffs to celebrate.