Solid CA Majority Backs Recreational Pot in Survey

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Five years after a similar initiative was rejected, a clear majority of California voters supports a measure on the November ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in their state, reports a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. Proposition 64, which would legalize personal use, is backed by 58 percent of California voters, and that favorable view extends across most lines of age, race, income and gender. The ballot measure backed by former Facebook President Sean Parker and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom would allow Californians 21 or older to possess, transport, and use up to an ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes, and would allow individuals to grow as many as six plants. The measure would also impose a 15 percent tax on retail sales of the drug.

Only 34 percent of the 1,879 respondents to the survey said they would vote against the ballot measure if the election were held today and 8 percent said they had no answer to the question. The survey results show a shift in public views since the last legalization measure, Proposition 19, was rejected in 2010 by 53.5 percent of voters.  “It’s very clear that Californians’ attitudes have changed dramatically on this issue over the last several years,” said Dan Schnur of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. “The opposition is going to have to identify a fairly sizable source of campaign funding if this initiative is to be close,” he added. Some of the change appears to have come from the ability of Californians to watch what has happened in other states that legalized recreational pot use: Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.

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