Poll: Californians Back Legal Marijuana

By Ben Feuerherd 02/27/13

According to a new field poll, state support of legalization has risen to 54%.

Is Cali cruising towards legal weed?
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Things are looking up for California pot. According to the results of a new field poll, 54% of Californians support marijuana legalization. This is a 4% rise in support from the last time a field poll was taken, in 2010. Those polled are also overwhelmingly in favor for other marijuana initiatives: 67% oppose the crackdown by the state's US attorneys on medical marijuana businesses, and 58% said they would not mind if a medical marijuana store opens in their town or city. Opinions on how the federal government handles marijuana don't necessarily play along party lines: 68% of Democrats, 55% of Republicans and 78% of independents were opposed to the feds cracking down. "Once (alcohol) prohibition was repealed, the feds pretty much took their hands off—and I think that's the best model," says Stewart Hintz, a California republican. Support for legalizing weed was highest in the Bay Area, where 7 in 10 were in favor. And the state's 16-year-old law allowing citizens to grow and use marijuana for medical purposes continues to receive widespread support, with 70% of those surveyed in favor of MMJ. "This poll … heartens me and makes me feel validated," says Steve DeAngelo, who runs the state's largest medical marijuana dispensary. California is home to the largest medical marijuana industry in the country.

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Benjamin Feuerherd is a city reporter at the New York Post. He has previously worked for The Daily Beast and NBC. You can find him on Linkedin and Twitter