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Field Poll: Majority Of California Favors Legalizing Marijuana

by Alex Gauthier, published

California Favors Legalizing Marijuana ChameleonsEye / ChameleonsEye /

A Field Poll released Wednesday suggests 54 percent of Californians are in favor of legalizing the sale of marijuana, the highest in Field Poll history. Respondents were asked, "Do you favor or oppose making the use of marijuana legal, with age and other controls like those that apply to alcohol?" Tweet poll: Tweet

That figure is up nearly 41 percent from when the poll was first conducted in 1969 and up 4 percent compared to 2010. Aside from outright legalization, pollsters also asked if respondents favored or opposed the federal crackdown on dispensaries, if he or she supported dispensaries operating nearby, and his or her opinion on Proposition 215 (legalization of medical marijuana). Tweet it: Tweet

Across the board, findings were starkly in favor of legalization. Seventy-two percent favored Proposition 215. Sixty-seven percent opposed federal intervention regarding dispensary operations, and 58 percent favored marijuana dispensaries operating in the respondent's hometown. Tweet stat: Tweet

Democratic and no party preference/other voters were nearly identical when it came to legalizing Cannabis with regulatory controls. Fifty-eight percent and 59 percent, respectively, stated they were in favor of legalizing Cannabis with regulatory controls.

No party preference/other voters gave the most overwhelming response regarding federal crackdown on dispensaries operating within state laws. Seventy-eight percent of NPP voters, the largest consensus of any demographic, opposed the federal government shutting down 'legal' dispensaries. Tweet stat: Tweet

Opinions varied slightly based on region, age, and ethnicity. The Bay Area reported the highest approval of legalization at 66 percent, and the South Coast was the lowest with 47 percent in favor. Likewise, age and ethnicity appear to play a role in influencing Californians' opinions on marijuana.

From the report:

Voter support for legalizing the sale of marijuana exceeds six in ten among voters in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, among singles, men, and voters under age 40. On the other hand, majorities of voters age 65 or older, Latinos age 40 or older, and Republicans oppose legalizing marijuana.

The Field Poll seems to resemble attitudes in Washington and Colorado just before voters approved marijuana initiatives in November 2012. This could indicate a substantial momentum for marijuana advocates to pass related initiatives in 2014.

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