Poll Shows Californians Now Want Legal Weed

By Shawn Dwyer 12/11/13

After voting against legalizing marijuana in 2010, attitudes have quickly changed toward pot in the Golden State.

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Is California next? Photo via Shutterstock

A new Field Poll conducted for The Press-Enterprise and other media outlets shows for the first time a majority of California voters would like to see marijuana legal in the state.

Released on Dec. 10, the poll revealed that 55 percent of Californians now support legalization, with 47 percent wanting to see marijuana fall under the same age and controls as alcohol. Only eight percent said weed should be restriction-free. The change in attitude toward marijuana has been slowly trending in the state ever since the late-1960s. Back then, Californians were notoriously adamant against the legalization of marijuana during the waning years of hippie power, when 75% of state residents wanted marijuana laws strictly enforced or even strengthened. Now, however, only 31 percent would like to see the laws enforced or toughened. “You have just had a whole new reevaluation [of marijuana],” said Field Polls Director Mark DiCamillo. “What is different is that in 1969, there was a much more prevalent view that marijuana would lead to harder drugs and addiction.”

The Field Poll mirrors a recent national Gallup Poll, which showed that 58 percent of Americans would like to see marijuana legal for recreational use. “These different polls are showing the same thing,” said Lanny Swerdlow, advocate and former medical marijuana clinic owner. “It’s a number of different things. One was the advent of medical marijuana. It has some very beneficial uses and the government has lied about its dangers. People are beginning to see through that.”

At the moment, the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative has been cleared by the California Attorney General to gather signatures for a petition to put pot legalization back onto the ballot for 2014. They have until February of that year to gather 500,000 valid signatures. A previous attempt with Proposition 19 in 2010 failed 53.5% to 46.5%.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.

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