NEW YORK (MainStreet) About 43% of Colorado and Washington residents plan to make a marijuana purchase in the future and 70% believe that eventually bringing pot to a dinner party will be as routine as Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB), according to a new survey.
"BYOB with marijuana wouldn't be much different than BYOB social gatherings right now," said Derek Peterson, co-owner of the Blüm dispensary in Oakland. "The only difference is that adults who prefer cannabis over alcohol could make that decision without threat of arrest."
An Avvo study found that 67% of Colorado and Washington residents support a legal pot business opening up within 1 mile of their home but 43% worry about kids having greater access to recreational pot.
"One of the main reasons for legalizing and regulating the cannabis market is to keep cannabis away from children," said Michael Chazukow, outreach director with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in New Jersey. "Legalization advocates understand that street dealers do not ask for ID. So it is not at all surprising that legalization supporters are also concerned for the children. For many this concern is exactly why they support cannabis reform."
Smoking pot in front of the children is still taboo with 89% saying they would not consider it, including 75% of those who intend to purchase marijuana in the future.
"Pot is gaining social acceptance across a wide swath of demographics even with shared concerns about kids having greater access to the drug," said Leigh McMillan, vice president of marketing and research with Avvo. "Somewhat akin to the social movement after the end of prohibition, legalized marijuana will likely follow a similar trajectory as cannabis becomes socially accepted and new businesses emerge."
While Colorado and Washington residents are welcoming the business, 42% are very concerned about increased numbers of people driving under the influence of marijuana.
"Driving under the influence is drunk under the influence no matter which way you slice it," said Darrin C. Duber-Smith, professor with Metropolitan State University in Denver. "Law enforcement is developing testing for cannabis and it will be interesting to see how any users of prescription drugs are caught up in the mix."
A mere 26% are concerned about increased crime.
"Control will be a good thing," Duber-Smith told MainStreet. "Regulation, taxation and remediation of any requisite problems from legitimizing cannabis is key."
Although 71% would consider using a private delivery service to purchase and receive legal marijuana, it may not be necessary as legalization efforts sweep the country.
"I don't really see that becoming the norm under a fully regulated, recreational market," Chazukow told MainStreet. "Medical marijuana prescriptions delivery would be useful but we don't have alcohol delivery services. As legal recreational access increases, more consumers will prefer going to a physical location for all the benefits we enjoy at any other legitimate business location such as variety of products and customer service."
--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet