California voters think they should be allowed to grow and consume marijuana, according to a new Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll. The poll also found more than one in three voters had tried pot, and more than one in 10 had used cannabis in the past year.
The poll found that voters back the marijuana legalization measure on November’s ballot, Tax Cannabis 2010
, by a 49 percent to 41 percent margin, with 10 percent undecided, reports John Hoeffel at The Los Angeles Times
. But support for the initiative is shaky, the Times
reports, with one-third of legalization supporters saying they favor it only “somewhat.”
“The good news for proponents is that they are starting off with a decent lead,” said Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh School of Politics. “The good news for the opposition is that initiatives that start off at less than 50 percent in the polls usually have a hard time.”
While men overall favor legalization, women are split. Almost half — 49 percent — of married women reject the measure, while 40 percent are in favor.
The measure’s supporters say marijuana taxes could add more than a billion dollars to government coffers. Among voters, 42 percent believe that estimate and 38 percent think it is overstated. The initiative authorizes city and county governments, but not the state, to legalize and tax sales.
Legalization attitudes vary sharply by age; support is much higher among younger voters. Among voters 65 and older, 52 percent oppose legalization. Among voters 45 to 64, 49 percent support it. But among those 30 to 44, 53 percent are in favor. That number rises even farther, to 61 percent support, among those 18 to 29 years old.
Among those surveyed, 37 percent of voters admitted they had tried marijuana, roughly consistent with federal drug use surveys. That group strongly supports the initiative. The 11 percent who used marijuana within the past year favored legalization by 82 percent.
Among voters who have never tried pot, 57 percent oppose the legalization initiative.
California voters with college degrees are more likely to have used marijuana than those with high school diplomas only. Use is also higher among those with bigger incomes.