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Slim Majority Favors Marijuana Legalization in California Poll

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #774)

A Field poll of California voters released Wednesday had support for marijuana legalization at 54%, the highest number ever for a Field poll. Only 43% opposed legalization. The same poll reported that two-thirds of Californians want the federal government to end its crackdown on medical marijuana providers.

While the 54% in favor of legalization is the highest ever for Field, it is not high enough to make potential initiative organizers or contributors feel sanguine. The conventional wisdom about initiative experts is that they should be polling at 60% or above at the beginning of the campaign. However, it will be a few years before Californians are likely to vote on legalization again, and support for legalization has only continued to increase in recent years.

Proposition 19 in 2010 typically polled in the 50s in the run-up to the election last year before losing on election day with 47% of the vote. That year, the final Field poll to ask about marijuana legalization, four months ahead of the election, had support at 50%, but as is typical in initiative campaigns, support wavered at the end.

This week's Field poll found support for legalization at 60% or above for San Francisco Bay Area residents (66%), single people (64%), men (62%), voters under 40 (60%), and African- and Asian-Americans (60%).

Support was lowest among Latinos (41%), Republicans (42%), voters 65 and older (43%), and women (46%).

Californians strongly support their medical marijuana system, the poll found. In addition to the 67% calling on the federal government to end its crackdown, 72% said they favor the state's medical marijuana law. That figure, however, was down two points from 2004 and 2010 Field polls.

Some 58% of respondents would allow dispensaries in their communities. Support for dispensaries was highest in the Bay Area (65%) and lowest in "other Southern California" (San Diego, the Inland Empire and Central Valley).

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.


mexweeds (not verified)

At one point near the election Romney had received $120,000 from the $igarette companies, Obama $25,000.  That tells us what we already knew about their preference for the anti-cannabis Party, but the sums are so ludicrous in a billion dollar election-- it can't be the whole story.  Will we ever know how much tobacco money Romney actually got through unreleased unpublicized PACk donors-- a $igarette company executive's mother-in-law gives a million here, a nephew gives 50 grand there, nobody knows it's from tobacco people?  I think that's a big factor behind "United"-- somebody in there doesn't want the public to know how much of the money is tobacco money.  Fortunately the public got wise and gave Mitt his 47%...?

Thu, 02/28/2013 - 9:54pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

In reply to by mexweeds (not verified)

How did we allow this corrupt system in which self-serving politicians and special interest groups run our country?  Big tobacco is responsible for how many premature deaths?  These people literally have more blood on their hands than Nazi Germany did.  Any politician who accepts money from them in exchange for voting a certain way on some bill, or whatever the hell the corporations ask of them (becasue we damn well know these contributions aren't for free).. that should be considered treason.  Yet it's fully legal.  How corrupt is that?  

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 7:45pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

Men 62%, women (boo) 46%. Women should be prime candidates for the argument that a safer alternative to alcohol is needed. They and their children bear the brunt of the physical and emotional abuse that is associated so heavily with alcohol abuse but not with cannabis. Mason Tvert of Colorado has been a prime exponent of this view, and it played a part in their fantastic victory in Colorado (with a less restrictive initiative than Washington state passed). I was thrilled to see him get promoted to a leadership role in one of the national organizations. I hope he's scheming to get some votes going in 2014. Keep the pressure on!

As far as California goes, isn't the biggest problem the lack of unity among reformers, already seen so painfully in the 2010 vote? They making any progress on that? There's still plenty of time to decide about 2014, and it's quite possible public opinion will continue to improve between now and Nov 2014. 

As far as support for initiatives usually slipping at the end, it's interesting that that didn't happen in either CO or WA last year. Might be a good sign for the future.

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 3:01am Permalink
Freedom63 (not verified)

In reply to by saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

Unfortunately, women don't see this as a 'right to privacy' issue and that's exactly what it is.  Men have a right to their body too and it looks like we are going to have to fight for it just like the women did before us.

Thu, 03/07/2013 - 4:10pm Permalink
Dayv (not verified)

How is 54% to 43% a slim majority? If this was a Presidential election poll the results would be called a landslide!

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 4:39pm Permalink
Nemo (not verified)

55% isn't slim.

If it isn't obvious by now, then those who can't see it are hopeless. Do pictures have to be drawn to get the point across?

The Fed vampires have been stopped cold in WA and CO; those States' re-legalization laws and the popular support behind them has pointed the political equivalent of a machinegun at the Fed bloodsuckers, a machinegun loaded with hollow-point, holy water blessed silver bullets, tipped with garlic juice payloads. Because of that, the Feds don't dare move; see how tippy-toe cautious they've been in WA and CO, while they so easily, arrogantly and contemptuously plow under the growers and dispensaries in CA?

I hate to say it, but that contempt was earned. Make common cause with the enemy, with rabid loons like (the very un-)Reverend Allen as some growers and dispensaries did, and they'll betray you, every time. And now the karma for that has come due. Anyone with three brain cells to click together could have seen that one coming a mile off, given that deceit is a major modus operandi of the DrugWarriors.

Quit dicking around with MMJ; it's day is done. The Feds will never respect it. Pass any re-legalization initiative, no matter how imperfect it is, and the people of CA will achieve the same results. Pray the lesson has been learned...

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 6:25pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

Dayv, Nemo,

54% is a slim majority because it usually means you're going to lose at the ballot if that's where you're starting out. I think Prop 19 polled above that number more than once, though I'd have to double check. Phil goes into what the "conventional wisdom" is about what kind of support an initiative needs to have going in, in order to win on election day. There's a difference between supporting an idea in principle -- legalization -- vs. voting yes for a specific legalization bill at that specific time. That said, I suspect that California will pick up general support for marijuana legalization between now and when the next initiate is fielded.

I don't agree with dropping medical marijuana. We haven't won legalization yet -- in many states we clearly don't have the support. Medical marijuana for all its challenges has coincided with a vast increase in support for legalization as well. That doesn't prove, but does suggest, that it has helped chances for legalization, and it certainly seems to suggest it hasn't hurt.

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 7:28pm Permalink
saynotohypocrisy (not verified)

In reply to by borden (not verified)

But in terms of the political legitimacy of the law (which is already a moral cesspool regardless of how much public support it has) it's a pretty decisive majority saying the law should be changed. There have been enough polls that the pols in CA and many other states are now officially defying public opinion, not just on MMJ and hemp as they've been doing for a long time, but now on rec weed as well.

How did this tendency for support for weed to decline when a specific proposal is at issue play out in CO and WA last year? We won by 10% and 11%. How does that compare to what the pre-campaign polls were saying?

I certainly don't support forgetting about MMJ either. There's too many people who need it right now, and it's all part of the process of the public becoming more aware of what cannabis does and doesn't do.

Sun, 03/03/2013 - 12:23pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

Frankly, I'm a bit shocked that support is so narrow in California--the state that started this all back in 1996 by becoming the first in the nation to allow medical marijuana.  Is waning support something to be concerned about, or is this a minor hiccup?

Fri, 03/01/2013 - 9:07pm Permalink
Matt B (not verified)

How do we address the Latino situation? They need to learn to be more progressive, and less "machismo" about the cannabis issue.

Per usual, I'm not interested in coddling them; they need a rude awakening just like all other demographic groups that comprise America's Regressive Militia.

Latino activists, it's time to step up your game like never before. America need reformers, not "useful idiots".

And sadly, yes, I agree with the sentiment that politicians who support lax immigation laws see the immigrants as "useful idiots". Immigrants need to be taught that this is America, and we stand up for ourselves here.

None of this is meant to be racist, obviously. I'm tired of psycho white idiot regressives too.

Sat, 03/02/2013 - 2:00pm Permalink
Freedom63 (not verified)

In reply to by Matt B (not verified)

The entire purpose of the prohibition on marijuana was to harass and discriminate against the Mexicans emigrating to America in the early 1900's but unfortunately most Latinos today are ignorant of their history on this issue and the Prohibition crusaders rely on this ignorance and fear in the Mexican community to continue their insane Prohibition.

Thu, 03/07/2013 - 4:16pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

What in the whirl is going on in California ? Of all the States , one would think that Cali. would be the first to legalize . People over on the East Coast in Georgia are amazed that Colorado whupped up on California real good . Simply amazing and astonishing beyond imaginary imaginations . The Defense Industry has too big a grip in Cali. to allow that " Death Bush " called Marijuana to be recognized as a safe plant to have around and therefore no need to wage a WAR against it . Follow the $$$ to the Cali . / U.S. Senate .  It`s all in plain sight . The remaining Cannabis Prohibitionists Regime [ CPR ]  are like Crows eating eye-balls out of road-kill squirrels . That`s all they have left . Witnessing the fall of these clowns in wonderful . That " Big Green Tsunami " will not be denied .

Tue, 03/05/2013 - 1:34am Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

In reply to by kickback (not verified)

Has a bigger grip in Colorado.  So I don't think that has anything to do with it.  It's funny, but the commanders of military bases in Colorado released memos to their troops reminding them that THEY still can't use marijuana, even if everyone else in the state can.

Tue, 03/05/2013 - 7:47am Permalink

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