Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley may have believed he was safely playing to the grandstands when he promised to shut down all of L.A.'s estimated 800 to 1,000 medical Marijuana dispensaries, magnanimously declaring that "approximately zero
" of the dispensaries were operating legally in exchanging weed for cash. But perhaps Cooley should check his numbers: In a new poll taken this week and released today, the reaction of Los Angelenos sounds more like a chorus of boos and hisses.
More than three-quarters of the voters (77 percent ) in Los Angeles County want to see medical Marijuana dispensaries regulated, rather than prosecuted and forced to close, according to the poll, funded by a pro-pot advocacy group and completed Monday and Tuesday. The poll also found that 74 percent support the California's medical Marijuana law, while 54 percent want to see Marijuana completely legalized, regulated and taxed.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP
), a national organization that supports Marijuana legalization, commissioned the poll by independent firm Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, after Cooley threatened every dispensary operator in the county with arrest and prosecution. Cooley, along with newly elected L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, claim that the dispensaries are selling Marijuana for profit in violation of state law.
The attempts by anti-pot zealots to paint the dispensaries as
unpopular and the medical Marijuana law as out of control simply aren't
based in the facts, according to the new poll. "I think the take-home
message here is voters in L.A. County overwhelmingly support the
state's medical Marijuana law," MPP spokesman Bruce Mirken told the Los Angeles Times. "They think dispensaries, properly regulated, can be a part of that, and Mr. Cooley's really out of step."
Los Angeles City Council is on the verge of passing a law which would
ban sales of Marijuana in L.A. Dispensary operators say pot stores
technically do not sell the herb, but collect donations to recoup their
costs, in accordance with California Attorney General Jerry Brown's
published guidelines (PDF).
Dispensary owners fear the new ordinance will be used against them, and
Cooley's heavily publicized anti-pot hot-dogging has certainly done
nothing to quell their concerns.
Gallup Poll Shows West Coast Majority Backs Legalization
A separate poll, released Saturday by respected national polling firm Gallup
finds a majority, 53 percent, of Americans on the West Coast favor
legalization of Marijuana. Support falls to 44 percent nationally, but is at a
record level and has grown throughout the past decade, according to
The poll numbers could bode well for
Marijuana legalization advocates in California, where the issue could
be on the 2010 ballot.
According to the
polling service, which has been posing the Marijuana legalization
question to likely voters since 1970, national support for legalization is on a roll. Last time Gallup asked the question, in 2005,
only 36 percent of Americans nationwide said they backed legalization.