Most California Voters Oppose Legal Pot

By Chrisanne Grise 05/31/12

Most of the Golden State's voters are against full legalization—unlike in the US as a whole.

For medical use only. Photo via

Despite national support being at an all-time high, the majority of California voters don't support the pot legalization—althought they do overwhelmingly agree that patients should be allowed medical marijuana. According to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, 80% of voters in the state approve of doctor-recommended use for terminal and severe illnesses, but only 46% support legalization for general or recreational use and 50% are against it. Those opposed to the measure were adamant about their position as well, with 42% saying they feel "strongly" about keeping it un-recreational, compared to 33% of those who feel "strongly" that marijuana should be legalized. Voter opinions appear to have not changed much since they defeated the legalization initiative Prop. 19 in 2010 by similar margins. These somewhat surprising results are released on the heels of a nationwide survey earlier this month that found support for the legalization of marijuana is at a record high, with 56% of Americans in favor of regulating pot like tobacco and alcohol. USC professor Dan Schnur says the California numbers suggest voters are concerned about the way medical marijuana permits have been carried out, saying, "they like the idea of providing marijuana for medical use, but they're worried that the law is being abused."

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Chrisanne Grise is a multimedia journalist specializing in health/fitness, lifestyle, travel, bridal, and music. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, Parents, FitnessMagazine, Fisher Price, Bridal Guide, Scholastic's Choices,,, and more. She is the Senior Editor at The New York Times Upfront. Follow her on Linkedin and Twitter.