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51% Say Legalize Marijuana in New California Poll

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #644)
Drug War Issues

A Sacramento Bee/Field Poll survey released over the weekend found support for legalizing marijuana in California at 51%. The poll was not measuring support for Proposition 19, the Tax and Regulate Cannabis marijuana legalization initiative, but instead asked respondents: "Which action best fits what you feel should be done about marijuana laws?"

Legalization got 51%, with 47% saying marijuana should be legalized and controlled like alcohol and another 4% saying marijuana should be legalized -- period. Thirteen percent wanted to keep current laws, but lessen the penalties (which pending decriminalization legislation would accomplish), while 19% wanted tough enforcement of existing laws and a hard-core 14% wanted even tougher pot laws.

Between those who want to legalize it and those who want to decriminalize it, the poll suggests nearly two-thirds of California voters favor relaxing the state's marijuana laws. Only about one-third support the status quo or hardening the state's approach to marijuana.

This Sacramento Bee/Field Poll is in line with recent robocall polls on Prop 19, which show the initiative at 50% in one poll, 52% in another. A Field Poll from early July had the initiative losing by a margin of 44%-48%. This is yet more evidence that the Prop 19 race will most likely be very tight indeed.

The poll also found that 47% of respondents had tried marijuana, but nearly half of those (23%) had not smoked in the last 15 years. Eight percent had toked up in the past year, with the San Francisco Bay area with the highest last year use rate (11.4%), followed by Los Angeles County (8.8%), Northern California (8.1%), interior Southern California (7.7%), the Central Valley (5.7%), and San Diego and Orange counties (4.8%).

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Make it Legal... (not verified)


Safer than caffeine, nicotine , and alcohol... hell it's even safer than vioxx and spinach.


Just make it legal ... stop the insaniety.


Wed, 08/11/2010 - 5:27am Permalink
Jillian Galloway (not verified)

In reply to by Make it Legal... (not verified)

Marijuana always was far safer than the prohibition meant to eradicate it. As someone who helps fund the prohibition I say ENOUGH! Taxpayers join me in demanding the legal production and sale of marijuana to adults.

Don't leave your kids at risk of the drug dealers any longer - get the weed off the street. Legalize.

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 5:53pm Permalink
Ray Christl TH… (not verified)

Stop worrying about the agent provocateurs in the" tomato" crowd---get some money to Chris Conrad-Mikki Norris to media promote Willie Nelson-LEAP-Lynette Shaw comfort the soccer mommy crowd. Also, the clergy should be approached by LEAP with NAACP...Dump GIBBS-LEONHART !

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 7:35am Permalink
KeLeMi (not verified)

I'm sure that people across the country want this. Write to your congressman. Have it legal on a federal level. Have them side with Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich.

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 9:14am Permalink
Cat Person (not verified)

I wish I could help you folks out by voting yes of prop 19 but I live in Colorado. I will have to wait until 2012 here. I don't use Marijuana its just not for me but I support anybodys right to freedom of their own body. Good Luck California.

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 3:25pm Permalink
Wryly Turner (not verified)

In reply to by Cat Person (not verified)

THANK YOU! jeeze, i wish everyone could have that view on life. As an entire species, humanity would do so much better if everyone was simply okay with what other people did. As long as what you're doing doesn't hurt anyone else, it should be fine.

Thu, 08/19/2010 - 7:46pm Permalink
Joe Bob (not verified)

I'm definitely voting YES on 19, but will i hafta get off the couch to vote?  do they have snacks at the polls, cause i got the munchies.  :)

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 7:23pm Permalink
Westcoastliberal (not verified)

I'm proud that the majority of Californians approve of Prop 19 and I'll bet if more people understood all the garbage they've been fed about Pot over the years, the figure would be much higher.

It's an herb for God's sake!  The reason it's not legal today is Big Pharma can't easily make money from it, and if it's legal people will smoke Pot rather than be zombiefied by all the anti-depressant drugs they advertise on TV.  That's their fear, anyway IMHO.

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 11:16pm Permalink

California's single biggest legal cash crop is citrus at about $1 billion a year.  Marijuana tips the scales at around $17 billion a year.  I would go so far as to suggest that the current and past consumption percentages offered in this article are disingenuous on the part of the respondents.

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 11:23pm Permalink
Mr Big (not verified)

The 49% do not realize if prop 19  does not pass they will be paying higher property taxes to pay for the 19 billion dollar current California State debt.

Thu, 08/12/2010 - 12:19am Permalink
Sprout (not verified)

Soon after marijuana is legalized, Thousands of dollars will be saved as there will be no need to arrest someone with it, provide that person with a public defender, feed that person sandwiches in jail.

Maybe than we can go one day without hearing about the states budget troubles, and for goodness sake lay off some of these dead weight cops and state workers.

Marijuana will always be treated like alcohol in the work place, some employers will terminate you if your intoxicated and others will smoke with you, it depends on your line of work. 

Marijuana smokers were alienated in the 1960s and they were treated like idiots, that is one of the reasons it got smoked behind closed doors and privately people were afraid to be thought of as a pot head druggie and that will happen again in the future and it will cause a great decrease in the daytime use of pot, just hide and watch.

Everyone needs to stop thinking that the laws in this country control drugs etc, most people in this country are competent and able to decide what is best for themselves and for their lives, look at smoking cigarettes everyone did it in the 1950s it was cool but now that people know its deadly it has a much smaller group of users, and its legal! it just faded away and its not cool anymore.

Pot is for a select group of people and for the most part they seem perfectly normal while intoxicated, its the people that normally dont use it that have adverse affects and than think is bad for everyone, like other legal drugs some work well for some people but not everyone, for instance some people are allergic to penicillin and it could kill them dose that mean it should be made illegal, hell no it helps millions of people.


Well thats my opinion.

Sat, 08/14/2010 - 1:56pm Permalink
King Pothead (not verified)

Since I live in Illinois, I'll assume California is already being hit with anti prop 19 propoganda through the media.  And I assume it will get much, much worse in the next 2 1/2 months.  Hopefully most of the people there are already knowledgable on this issue.  But as Willie Horton and swiftboat  campaigns show, many people are sheep and can be easily misled.  Please make sure you are discussing this issue with friends, family and neighbors.  And make sure you get your butts out and vote to legalize the weed this Novemeber.  Pot smokers around the nation are depending on you to lead the way.

Sat, 08/14/2010 - 6:37pm Permalink
Anonymous010101 (not verified)

I just want to say if there are people out there such as myself we are in very good shape, I have never voted before in my life because I have zero trust for anyone who is trying to sway the public in order to achieve an office in power, politics have become a cesspool for the greedy and corrupt, no longer do our tax dollars go in the direction they should for the benefit off all people. Yet as I type this I am 31 years old, and have my new voters registration card in hand and have personally registered 57 other people to vote who were not registered prior. All of them are voting YES for Prop 19, and there doing it because I took the work out of it for them. If people who are passionate about this just take a little initiative for once and helped spread the word to their friends, friends family and others they are in daily contact with Prop 19 passes by a land slide. You would be amazed at the amount of people who are willing to vote if you just give them a little push, its all about motivating the common voter! Now is the time to stand up for our civil rights, no longer can they charge us to prosecute us to enrich themselves!



Register everyone you know to vote, that's YOUR contribution to the new California where civil rights are soon to be legal!

Mon, 08/16/2010 - 4:48pm Permalink
another hopeful (not verified)

I've always believed that people should be able to choose what they do with their life. That anyone can do anything they want if they set their mind to it. It might sound corny but I really believe it. This herbal product has changed my life in numerous ways and it means more to me that I care to say. Its made me happier where I was sad, brought me friends where I had none, brought in hope where there was none to be had. I believe that everyone has the right to their own life. This herb never belonged to anyone, and no one ever had the right to take it away. Marijuana was made by god, beer and cigarettes weren't but they are still legal? Maybe we should make cabbage illegal? I could choke on it.

This product greatly improves my overall quality of life; more than that, it has saved my life when times were the darkest and I had no other reason to live. Eventually it taught me what more there was, and because of it I hope to make my life as good as it could possibly be. Why take something from me and other people like this? Would you still if you knew how it changed and saved my life? Would you if it took everything in my life away?

Would anyone want it illegal if they knew some day that it could save their life? If not some how in taxes, but in moral prowess?

Law is based on morals, how is it immoral? Its immoral to diminish the quality of some ones life. A life is worth dying for. Indeed; I'm saying this herb is worth dying for. (in the right circumstance of course)

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 7:56am Permalink
Dr. Big Bud (not verified)

The only reason prop. 19 would fail is all the old people who have always voted thinks marijuana is the same as heroin. They say " you are an addict and ought to be locked up!" We need to get the younger generation out there and VOTE!! Otherwise we wont see it legal in our lifetimes. I live in Colorado at the moment but am looking forward of going back to my hometown in Northern California. We need these reforms!!!

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 10:17pm Permalink
Proud Republican (not verified)

WHY? because there are some people, when asked they would not admit they support it because they are paranoid they would get in trouble. My guess, is at least 10% of the people surveyed would fall into this catagory. If around 50% ADMIT they support it, it sure looks like an EASY WIN at the polls. Whether the FEDS stay out of California business is another story.

By the way, I am REPUBLICAN and I support legalization 100%. The money saved from judicial and law enforcement costs alone will be huge!


Thu, 08/26/2010 - 8:29pm Permalink
tiberius (not verified)

I can think of about 10 very good reasons why cannabis prohibition should cease for every one lame reason why it shouldn't. 

Setting all of that aside, I'm still left with a big question:   By what right does the government presume to deprive me of the right to choose whether or not to use a relatively benign, naturally occurring herb, so long as I am meeting all of my societal obligations and behaving in a totally responsible manner?   What gave them the right to break down my door, fine me, and haul me off to jail because I make a choice they don't happen to approve of? 

This sort of arbitrary power to intrude into my personal life is fundamentally unconstitutional, and always has been.  

Mon, 08/30/2010 - 12:59am Permalink
Anonymous_West (not verified)

In reply to by ralph in ny (not verified)

cigarette and alcohol are legal because they bring in big money. your pharmacist loves your smoking habit, just as your insurer does, gvnt and tabaco companies. That’s why no law suit, and no amount of damage done could make them illegal. They have big lobby, so they kill people and advertise on TV. On the other hand, the lobby form the drugs’ side wants them to be illegal for obvious reasons: huge profits for them and huge budget for DEA. Win-win situation.

I’m just making an argument, the fact is that alcohol does not kill people. People kill themselves using alcohol! But the war on drugs kills innocent people, directly and indirectly… It is a matter of common sense and humanity not to try the same approach on this issue tens of times and expect a different result!

Sat, 09/11/2010 - 4:57am Permalink
Sprout (not verified)

Laws to protect everyone, money to be make by California and in return allow people to use MJ at home providing they follow the rules about minors etc with no gray areas.
What a great prop.
Vote yes its the only way to solve the MJ problem in this state, otherwise we can continue with gray areas feds vs users state judges dismissing the charges and the cat and mouse games continue at the tax payers expense.

Wed, 09/15/2010 - 10:59pm Permalink

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