Most CA Voters Don't Support Legalizing Pot

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  Most CA Voters Don't Support Legalizing Pot

Posted by CN Staff on May 30, 2012 at 18:25:13 PT
By Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles Times 
Source: Los Angeles Times 

Los Angeles -- In California, cradle of the marijuana movement, a new poll has found a majority of voters do not support legalization, even as they overwhelmingly back medicinal use for "patients with terminal and debilitating conditions."Eighty percent of voters support doctor-recommended use for severe illness, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found. But only 46% of respondents said they support legalization of "general or recreational use by adults," while 50% oppose it. Those against using pot were more adamant in their position, with 42% saying they felt "strongly" about it, compared with 33% for proponents.
The survey found opinions have not measurably changed since voters defeated the legalization initiative Prop. 19 in 2010 by similar margins. And oddly, given the state's long role as the leader of marijuana decriminalization and cultivation, support for sanctioning its general use here appears to lag behind the sentiment in the rest of the country.A Gallup poll in October showed support nationwide for legalizing pot at 50% for the first time since the pollster began asking the question in 1969, when only 12% of Americans supported it. A Rasmussen Reports survey this month found 56% of voters favored authorizing and regulating cannabis sales like alcohol and tobacco sales. With this uptick in popularity, marijuana advocates succeeded in getting initiatives qualified for the upcoming November ballot in Colorado and Washington, while they failed in California.Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said the California numbers suggest voters are concerned about the way the Compassionate Use Act, passed in 1996 to permit medical marijuana, has been carried out."They like the idea of providing marijuana for medical use, but they're worried that the law is being abused," he said.Cities and counties have been struggling with how to rein in the proliferation of pot shops. Some law enforcement agencies have targeted them, while some have been more lenient. Some cities have tried to ban them, and courts have issued conflicting opinions up and down the state as to whether, where and how they can operate.The federal government, which does not recognize medical marijuana as legal, has been shutting down dispensaries and growers, while threatening landlords who rent to them and cities that give them official sanction by granting permits.Dale Gieringer, coordinator of the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that the state needs to regulate its medical marijuana distribution better before the public will go for wider use.His organization and Americans for Safe Access, among other marijuana groups, are backing an Assembly bill that would create a new state board to enact and enforce statewide regulations on growing, transporting and selling marijuana. It would require all dispensaries to register with the state, and allow cities and counties to tax sales."Voters are hesitant to liberalize the marijuana laws any further until the chaos of the current system is worked out," he said.The new poll of about 1,000 registered voters taken May 17-21 statewide showed many more voters used marijuana "recreationally" than the 3% who said they used it as medicine. Just less than 38% said they had indulged in pot for pleasure at least once in their lives — and 9% had in the last year. The questioners did not ask whether those who used the drug recreationally acquired it on the street or with a doctor's recommendation from a dispensary. The poll margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.The Bay Area was the only region of the state where a majority — 55% — favors legalization, compared with 41% in Southern California and 49% of voters in Los Angeles County. There was a pronounced drop-off with age, with 58% support among those in their late teens and twenties, slowly slipping to 51% for those between 50 and 64, and plummeting to 28% of voters older than 64.As for political affiliation, only 28% of Republicans and 50% of Democrats liked the idea of legalization. Independents were the ones to give it a boost, with 60% favoring it."It's the decline-to-state voters, those kind of independent ones that don't align with either party, who are the ones really pushing this," said Dave Kanevsky, research director for American Viewpoint, a Republican polling firm, which conducted the poll jointly with the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.One of those independents surveyed was Daniel, a 41-year-old who works in business development in the Inland Empire and did not want to give his last name."It's no worse than alcohol or tobacco that are currently legalized," he said. "People should absolutely not be persecuted for it."He said he "partied" with marijuana in his youth and grew out of it as an adult. While he feels that it has legitimate medical benefits for some, he suspects that other users are gaming the medical marijuana laws but is not particularly bothered by that."I don't feel it's a gateway drug," he said. "I feel the biggest gateway drug we have is alcohol because it lowers your inhibitions more than anything else."Jim Feller, a 55-year-old Republican in Shasta County, said the exploitation of medical marijuana laws in his area, where his neighbor is growing 25 plants, has strengthened his antipathy toward pot and legalization."I just feel it's not working," he said. "There is so much crime related to drugs up here."Pat Wray, 65, a registered Republican in Temecula, said she believes that the terminally ill should have access to marijuana."My goodness gracious, who wouldn't want them to have something to ease the pain?" she said.She noted that she grew up in the 1960s and doesn't demonize pot smokers. "Look, I drink my glass of wine and occasionally have a margarita." But she said she feared marijuana did lead to harder drugs, and was wary about legalizing it."You just don't want to open Pandora's Box."Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Joe Mozingo, Los Angeles TimesPublished: May 30, 2012Copyright: 2012 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #9 posted by schmeff on June 02, 2012 at 07:57:01 PT
Republican Goofiness
"As for political affiliation, only 28% of Republicans and 50% of Democrats liked the idea of legalization. Independents were the ones to give it a boost, with 60% favoring it."Note that the "smaller government" crowd (because of their fear-based world-view) is quite comfortable sacrificing freedom in order to obtain some mythical 'safety' from the boogeyman.Republicans actually live in fear...of freedom.
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on May 31, 2012 at 08:44:30 PT
True dat! My thoughts exactly. Polling, like most statistics, can be manipulated any way you like.  In fact, in the current US society, polling is often used to justify a decision which otherwise would make no sense. "Experts" and "polls" are therefore used to justify acts of oppression. And this is absolutely true within the movement to reform drug policy as well. "polling" is used to justify ballot language that has oppressive or hostile language.For example, in this article it's obvious that goal of the poll and this article it to conflate marijuana legalization with marijuana use. that is, instead of asking, "do you think we should use a tax and regulatory scheme to control marijuana use?", you simply ask "are you in favor of approving recreational use of marijuana"Look at the text they actually used:"Those against using pot were more adamant in their position, with 42% saying they felt "strongly" about it, compared with 33% for proponents. "BS detector is going off loudly! Do you realize that polling is almost NEVER raised on environmental issues? Why? Because the vast majority of the US favors global warming laws, clean water and air laws, laws against hydro-fracturing and pumping toxic chemicals into the earth, genetically engineered food, etc, the list goes on and on.Polling is the govt's best friend on moral issues, because they can always word the questions to trigger's people sense of built-in righteousness. Especially dumb people who have watched 40,000 commercials and had 15 years of brainwashing in the govt. school system
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Comment #7 posted by Vincent on May 31, 2012 at 08:24:33 PT:
LA Times poll
Well, considering the fact that the editorial board of the LA times (a CHEAP imitation of the New York Times) went AGAINST the Pot legalization bill in 2010, I have no reason to believe anything that paper has to say.
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Comment #6 posted by runruff on May 31, 2012 at 07:47:40 PT
Jim Fellar is a liar!
There is virtutally zero crime in Shasta. Unless he considers smoking a plant a crime which I'm sure he does.Mount Shasta was purchased from the Russians by my family in 1850. The Town is still registered in the California registry as Sisson California. The school there is called Sisson Elementary. There is a Sisson Museum and main street is Sisson Street. My early family donated the land to the city and the railroad there. The town became known as Mount Shasta City due to the Post Office at the Train Depot and the shear dominance of the Great and majestic 
mountain looming in the skyline. 
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on May 31, 2012 at 07:28:03 PT
The spin-wheel looks more like a kaleidoscope.
How they will jump on the prohibition band wagon and call a ripple a tsunami!This poll, this poll, ain't gonna set no policy, this poll!I admit from what I know that many who would otherwise see nothing wrong with legalized freedom, now by some means, are profiting from this bastard law. Most if not all mmj industry would vanish. Funding for anti-freedom groups would stop. Politician and law enforcement as well as the industry built up around it would crumble. we have come to difficult and divisive times were freedom cannot exist in a climate were one segment of society can tell another segment how to live. Freedom cannot exist where one segment of society is able to earn money by opposing the freedom of others. The best alternative to the truth for the anti-freedomizers is spin, but it has come to the place where spin has become a kaleidoscope of misinformation mixed with personal ambition.
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Comment #4 posted by Paul Pot on May 30, 2012 at 23:34:15 PT:
changing in spite of the wowsers
The prohibitionists have never helped anyone, 
they have never reduced the incidence of drugs in the community, 
they have never bothered to prove that prohibition does anything to help anyone other than the fascist corporate state and the cops and prison industry.
We are ruled by the insane.
But things are changing as more people join the sane party and elect reform friendly candidates.
There is light at the end of the joint.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on May 30, 2012 at 21:29:53 PT
No, it's not good.
I'll never understand the phenomenon of so many people wanting other people to suffer for using cannabis. It's stunning. 
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on May 30, 2012 at 19:55:40 PT
Yeah right!
More drivel... and much more in the years to come...
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 30, 2012 at 19:53:59 PT
This Isn't Good
I would think people in California would want cannabis legal. 
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