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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Poll: Majority of Californians Want To Release Marijuana Offenders From Prison

Posted By on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 1:45 PM

We're down -- so what're we waiting for?
  • We're down -- so what're we waiting for?

With every new poll showing a majority of people supporting marijuana legalization, marijuana news is treading dangerously close to "dog bites man" territory.

It would almost be more noteworthy if Tuesday's Field Poll showed a majority among Californians in support of keeping cannabis illegal. But it doesn't. Though other polls released this fall showed over 60 percent of California voters in favor of ending marijuana prohibition, Field revealed something more radical: over half of voters are in favor of letting all nonviolent marijuana offenders out of jail.

That's what the California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative (CCHI 2014), which polled at 56 percent in favor, promises to do.

As has been a theme, opponents to legalization come from a select few places: Latinos are only 46 percent in favor, less than any other race, and voters in the Central Valley are at a lukewarm 50 percent in favor. Those with a high school education or less are also least likely to support legalization, with 39 percent in favor.

The drug war is quickly becoming a polemical issue. One of the poll's most striking revelations is that almost one-third of voters feel that marijuana laws are fine -- and some 14 percent of voters think current laws don't go far enough and favor stricter penalties.

That's odd -- and surely in diametric opposition to the initiative voters were asked their feelings on, which is by far the most radical of the three possible legalization efforts circulating before voters.

As we observed today in Chem Tales, the only thing that appears to be holding back the marijuana legalization movement is money.

Positive polling like this could unlock the interest -- and the $10 million or so needed to stage, run, and win a statewide campaign -- from the interested billionaires, but they're not likely to back something as wild as emptying the state's prisons of nonviolent drug offenders. Though it is nice to dream.

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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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