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CBS Polls Finds Majority Of Western Voters, Californians, Back Legalization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 22, 2010

    [Update: A version of this post is now live online at The Hill.com’s Congress blog. Please take a moment to leave some feedback for your members of Congress about the rising popularity of marijuana legalization by going here. PS: And thanks to all of you who helped make my 4/20 Hill.com post the most read, most e-mailed, and most discussed story on The Hill’s Congress blog!]

    A majority of west coast voters, and Californians specifically, believe that the adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to the results of a pair of polls conducted on behalf of CBS News.

    Fifty-six percent of Californians believe that “the state of California (should) legalize the use of marijuana,” according to a SurveyUSA poll of 500 adults conducted for CBS. The survey results come less than a month after state election officials certified the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 for the November ballot.

    The measure would allow adults 21 years or older to possess, share or transport up to one ounce of cannabis for personal consumption, and/or cultivate the plant in an area of not more than twenty-five square feet per private residence. It would also permit local governments the option to authorize the retail sale of marijuana and/or commercial cultivation of cannabis to adults and to impose taxes on such sales. Personal marijuana cultivation or not-for-profit sales of marijuana would not be taxed under the measure, nor would it amend any aspect of the California Health and Safety code pertaining to the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

    Among poll respondents, support for the proposal was strongest among males (65 percent), ‘liberals’ (77 percent), and those between the ages of 18 and 34 (74 percent). Support was weakest among self-identified ‘conservatives’ (39 percent) and those 65 years of age or older (39 percent).

    In a separate national CBS poll of 858 adults, 55 percent of respondents residing in the west coast said that they back legalization, and only 41 percent oppose the idea.

    Nationwide, the poll reported that 44 percent of Americans favor legalizing the use of cannabis, and 51 percent oppose it. Among respondents in the northeast, 44 percent said that they back legalization, versus 40 percent in the south and only 36 percent in the midwest.

    A majority of those Americans under age 35 said that they support legalization. Those respondents over age 65 expressed the strongest opposition to legalization (61 percent).

    A previous poll by Zogby International reported that 58 percent of west coast voters believe that cannabis should be “taxed and legally regulated like alcohol and cigarettes.”

    In December, a national poll of 1,004 likely voters by Angus Reid reported for the first time that just over half of all Americans endorse marijuana legalization.

    By contrast, a separate poll published this week by the Associated Press and CNBC reported that 55 percent of Americans opposed the “complete legalization of the use of marijuana for any purpose.” However, 56 percent of respondents also stated that they believed that “the regulations on marijuana (should) be the same … or less strict … (than) those for alcohol.”

    50 Responses to “CBS Polls Finds Majority Of Western Voters, Californians, Back Legalization”

    1. Fantastic! Now just to get California out to the polls…that’s where these numbers will turn into policy.

    2. A lady closet smoker says:

      I am 54 and I am all for legalization. I live in Texas. I didn’t get to vote in the poll. Here is why I think it should be legal.

      1 For the income it will generate.
      2 Many people will go from Alchol to pot which means less violence.
      3 I won’t have to buy it from a drug cartel and give them 450.00 an oz of white widow that puts me in a down mood. I tried t return it but no way.

    3. Scott says:

      No one polled me. I am from the midwest, over 40, usually vote along conservative lines and I am 100% for total legalization. Better than 60% of the people I know feel the same way. It simply makes no sense for cannabis to be against the law while a poison like alchol is legal! I say in 2012 put it on the national ballot and let the will of the people decide.

      [Paul Armentano responds: There is no single issue, national ballot, and only half of states allow for ballot initiatives (like California). The closest thing America has to a ‘national ballot’ are elections; vote for state, local, and federal candidates who support marijuana law reform because this battle can only ultimately be won legislatively.]

    4. Atlanta Toker says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Time to stop the Federal stupidity and get them out of our way.

    5. jeff harstad says:

      how many families and innocent people are killed,mainded from alcohol and how many bars and restaurant will serve you many drinks and watch you drive out of there buisnesses super drunk.is there any medical benefits from booze

    6. Nelson says:

      Now, if only we can get the conservatives on board… i really don’t understand why it is so hard, especially in the name of being fiscally conservative… why wage a war that can’t be won and has already spent the taxpayers billions if not trillions of our money in the name of some pseudo-moral ideal… people who wanna smoke, will smoke, regardless of legality… i for one am all for taxing the hell out of it… granted i’d be one of the few that will grow my own…

    7. Manford Mantis says:

      WHAT CAN WE DO?
      Initiative and referendum is what we can do.

      The issue of [initiative and referendum] most likely crawls right up politician’s asses – because – it allows voters to [bypass] the legislature and take direct action on important matters. So! to those who ask…”What can we do?” Initiative and referendum is the answer you’re seeking. It also lets your elected representatives know that [you care]. However! you’ve got to vote, otherwise you’re chasing the wind.

      Experience has shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Genesists do not subscribe to this experience. We are emphatic about relinquishing our religious rights to evil. We do not subscribe to putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

    8. Yoni says:

      You would think elder adults who went through the whole hippie-dippie era would be more prone to accept legalization?

      Or maybe it’s that very experience from that era that makes them unfavorable to legalization?

      Interesting no doubt. I would sure love to hear what they think.

    9. Derp says:

      I give it 3 to 5 years for nationwide legalization. I imagine each state will differ on just how legal, like they do in the case of alcohol. For instance, some states such as Utah don’t permit the sale of alcohol on Sundays. But the winds of change are blowing, and people with with access to good information (due in no small part to the internet) are beginning to see how badly they’ve been lied to for decades. Won’t be long now boys.

    10. cjd says:

      California has been the starting block for the Cannabis revolution to date.Lets hope they don’t drop the ball now.

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