Marijuana legalization looks promising in California. PHOTO: Reuters
A majority of Californians support legalizing marijuana, in a new poll that raises hopes for a planned pro-marijuana ballot initiative for 2014.
The poll, which comes from the Public Policy Institute of California, showed that 52% of California residents want marijuana legal, compared to 45% who don’t. More surprising, marijuana legalization has the support of 60% of likely voters. This goes against a trend of more conservative voters being more likely voters. The likely reason for this is that Latinos, who oppose marijuana legalization 36-62 (even more than Republicans, 45-53) show lower turnout than whites who want to see marijuana legalized by a majority of 63-35. Marijuana legalization also crosses party lines by appealing to libertarians as well as liberals.
Even more impressive, support for marijuana legalization barely tapers off among older voters. Support goes from 53% to 52% to 50% among the age groups 18-34, 35-54, and 55 and older respectively. Having 50% of older voters is huge for the marijuana legalization movement, because older people are the most reliable voters.
This is a major boost to a planned ballot initiative for 2014 to decriminalize marijuana in California. If the California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative can collect just over half a million signatures from registered voters in California, voters will have the chance to make marijuana legal in California in November 2014. The initiative would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over, and regulate it just like beer and wine.
The California Secretary of State’s office estimates that the initiative would save the state hundreds of millions in law enforcement costs. The onus is on the anti-legalization side to argue that it’s worth the money (and that’s not including the surge of tax dollars from legal marijuana sales).
Is this a done deal? Of course not. It ain’t over till it’s over. But it sure looks like California will follow Washington and Colorado and legalize marijuana.