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Marijuana Legalization: California Poll of Primary Voters Finds Narrow Majority Say Keep It Illegal

A poll released this week suggests backers of California marijuana legalization initiatives have their work cut out for them. The Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research poll of 750 primary voters in late October found 52% wanted to keep marijuana illegal, while 38% supported legalization.

An April Field poll found that 56% of respondents supported legalization. But that support came in the context of a polling question about legalizing and taxing marijuana in the context of California's ongoing budget crisis. In that poll, respondents said they favored "legalizing marijuana for recreational use and taxing its proceeds."

The difference in poll questions influenced the way people responded, said poll director Adam Probolsky. "By saying there is a chance to help solve the budget crisis, you'd push some people toward making it legal," he said. "It makes it more palatable to people. If we had asked the same question, and said some studies show we'd have 10,000 more highway deaths, you'd push it the other way."

The two polls also sampled different voter pools. The Capitol Weekly poll was based on likely June primary voters, which is a smaller and more conservative group than general election or registered voters. The Field poll looked at registered voters.

While the poll may be a shot across the bow for legalization initiative organizers, it may not accurately predict how such a campaign will fare, Probolsky said. "This doesn't test the push messages -- closing the state budget gap versus the public safety messages," he said. "You need to test half a dozen of those pros and cons to see where the initiative lies."

When measured by party affiliation, only 25% of Republicans supported legalization, compared to 45% of Democrats and nearly 48% of voters who declined to state a party preference. Voters over 65 were most likely to oppose legalization, with 56% saying prohibition should continue. But that was only one point higher than the 55% of 18-to-34-year-olds.

The poll was taken the same week the Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-SF) held a hearing on his marijuana legalization bill at the state capitol in Sacramento. It also comes as petition-gatherers for at least three different legalization initiatives pound the pavement for signatures.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Let's fight back

Let's fight back against the tyranny of the majority over the minority. We who favor legalization must become MORE VOCAL. Speak up for cannabis legalization in California. Visit

OK, rewrite poll and try again

Probolsky's figure of "10,000 highway deaths" actually suggests what we could prevent if cannabis were legalized, because millions of drivers, especially youngsters, would then have something else to enjoy at the party instead of alcohol (the true WRECKCREATIONAL drug).

The "Save Lives/Money" initiative. Cannabis safer than alcohol.

No initiative that sounds like it was written by Libertarians will ever win. "Let's all get high publicly." But an initiative has a chance if it makes only possession of small amounts legal in order to save $25,000 per year per prisoner, and all the police time and paperwork for tens of thousands of arrests. And the campaign for the initiative should be based heavily on the Denver, Colorado initiative message that cannabis is safer than alcohol. Cannabis prohibition begins and ends with the "demon weed" image. That image must be aggressively deconstructed and laughed at. The Libertarian method is to mostly ignore the safety issue, and thereby accept the "demon weed" image. Libertarians then expect voters to agree with them that people have a right to use cannabis anyway.
Theatrical release poster:

It also makes more sense to do city initiatives first. As in Denver and Breckenridge, Colorado. Both of which passed. The statewide Colorado initiative lost. There is usually a higher percentage of conservatives in rural areas and smaller cities.


Let's put it to a vote California!

Drugwar truth

Truth is always the first fatality of war, especially a drug war.

borden's picture

you and "Jenifer" on the other post are the same person

I've verified from the server logs that you and "Jenifer," the claimed "whistle-blower" on the other post are in fact the same person. And since I know your name is not "Jenifer," and you are in fact the creator of the exploitative "Crack Heads Gone Wild" movie that our former intern criticized, there it goes. There, how's that for some whistle-blowing?

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Internet trolls

Amazing what lengths pathetic prohibitionists will go to to perpetuate their lies.They have dedicated a whole thread on their website to whining about being censored here when they have no intention of participating in intelligent discussion.
The reform movement will continue to grow and the failed prohibition mentality will continue to fade away like a stale fart.

Crackhead guy cracks me up

I remember when your former intern hit a slam dunk criticizing that loser posing as "Jenifer" for his/her (probably his) Crack Heads Gone Wild nonsense -- that was over a year ago or so. Wow is this guy pathetic! I think it's awesome that you continue to expose him.

- George

Marijuana Legalization: California Poll of Primary Voters Finds

Narrow Majority Say Keep It Illegal:

Of course keep illegal to keep the price up. Duh! $$$$$ vs. taxes to a needy state government. Makes economic sense to me but, then again I do not live in California.

Legalize it, the user will pay less, will get some kind of med card for carrying it on their person and the ability to grow your own weed for personal use. OR, get a license to grow commercially and continue to run your business (legal) not to worry about getting caught.

Wreckcreational? That is awesome, Maxwood

You want credit when I use your line or can I 'borrow' it?


Thanks NAB go ahead and use it. (I googled and found some other users anyway.) Also try my favorite: Big Awgohel (or try your variant) is the Running Dog for Big 2Wackgo and both fear Cannabis!

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