A new poll from the backers of Nevada's marijuana decriminalization initiative finds more support for it than other surveys have, with 49 percent of voters in favor and 43 percent against. By contrast, a recent poll by the Reno Gazette Journal had the initiative losing by 18 percentage points. Before you assume that the difference can be attributed to tricky question wording by the intiative campaign, have a look at the survey script, which simply asks people their response to the actual ballot language:

Shall Titles 32 and 40 and 43 of the Nevada Revised Statutes be amended in order to do the following:

  • First, to permit and regulate the sale, use, and possession of one ounce or less of marijuana by persons at least 21 years of age,
  • Second, to impose licensing requirements on marijuana retailers and wholesalers,
  • Third, to allow for the sale of marijuana by licensed marijuana retailers and wholesalers
  • Fourth, to impose taxes and restrictions on the wholesale and retail sale of marijuana, and
  • Finally, to increase the criminal penalties for causing death or substantial bodily harm when driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Other surveys have used the word legalize, which the initiative's campaign manager thinks scares people. The best part of the story, though, is that the group opposing the initiative is called the Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable. Gambling, prostitution, and 24-hour liquor sales are one thing, but pot smoking? That would really give the state a licentious reputation.