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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Support for Marijuana Legalization in California Is At An All-Time High

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 1:21 PM

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Californians are a demanding bunch, though they're not always exactly sure what it is they want.

Take the newly released Public Policy Institute of California Poll. The poll takes the state's temperature on a host of issues, including fracking (we want it regulated), Gov. Jerry Brown (Democrats like him, Republicans not so much), and, of course, marijuana.

National polls reveal a majority support for legalizing marijuana, and the state results are no different. On the cannabis question, a solid 52 percent of the 1,703 Californians polled want marijuana legal -- and among likely voters (the same people who will likely be called on to make it legal in 2016) support is even higher at 60 percent.

This is a record peak for pot at the state level. So marijuana does great at the polls, but not so much in the halls of justice or government -- and not so much among Asians and Latinos.

The entire poll is an interesting read, and does reveal some inconsistencies, if not some disconnects. Jobs and the economy are Californians' chief concern, the poll says, with crime way down the list. That said, a majority of people here are also worried about the prospect of prison overcrowding sending cons into their communities.

On the issue of pot, the poll reveals that there has been a "reversal" over the last three years: Legalization support was at only 45 percent in the months leading up to the November 2010 election, when Prop. 19, the measure to legalize marijuana in California, was defeated.

Then as now, women aren't yet solidly behind the issue (and Prop. 19 famously tried and failed to woo soccer moms from Orange County), with 47 percent of women in favor. And, oddly, some brown people aren't on board, either.

The American Civil Liberties Union this past summer released a report that showed black and brown people are still being arrested for pot at rates higher than white people. And Latinos responding to the poll showed the lowest support for marijuana legalization than any other race: 36 percent were in support and 62 percent opposed. By contrast, black people supported legalization 61 percent to 34 percent (for whites it was 63 in favor to 35 opposed, and for supposedly more conservative Asians it was 48 in favor to 45 opposed).

But on the question of whether the federal government should step in and enforce federal law in California, it seems everyone is libertarian: Democrats (68 percent) and Republicans (61 percent) and independents (64 percent) all want the feds to back off.

Meanwhile, reform at the state level remains stalled in Sacramento, as cash and investors (and weed) flow out of state.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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