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Majority of Californians in Favor of Marijuana Initiative, Poll Finds

A new poll found that 63.8 percent of California voters are in support of legalizing adult use marijuana.

Nearly two-thirds of Californians are in support of Proposition 64, an initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana use, according to a new poll by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at University of California-Berkeley.

Proposition 64, or the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, permits adults aged 21 and over to possess and transport up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use. Individuals would also be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use. A 15 percent sales tax would be applied to retail sales and the revenue would be used for law enforcement, youth drug intervention programs, substance abuse treatment groups, and mental health organizations.

With support from Lt. Governor of California Gavin Newsom and Napster co-founder Sean Parker, this summer campaigners collected over 600,000 signatures for the initiative to qualify for this November’s ballot.

If the IGS survey is any indication, things are looking good for the measure. According to the poll, 63.8 percent of the 3,020 voters in California surveyed responded that they supported the statement, “Marijuana should be legal for adults to purchase and use recreationally, with government regulation similar to the regulation of alcohol.”

Strongest support came from Democrats (73.8 percent), African Americans (71.9 percent), Latinos (69.3 percent), and independents (62.2 percent). Support for legalization from Asian Americans was found to be 57.7 percent.

Republicans opposed the legislation, 53 percent to 47 percent. However, opposition for legalizing marijuana fell from 61.6 percent and support increased from 38.4 percent compared to when asked the same question last year.

Proposition 64 also has built-in safety concerns, including it being illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Additionally, marijuana retail stores would be required to be located at a minimum of 600 feet away from a school. Edibles would have to be packed in a way to not appeal to kids.

Recreational and Medical Marijuana

A recent report from research firm The Arcview Group estimates that if the recreational marijuana initiative passes, the market could add an estimated $1.4 billion in revenues within the first year of being a fully operational cannabis market. The publication predicts that the market could grow to between $2.7 billion and $6.6 billion by 2020. California’s legal cannabis market is already the strongest in the country, with its $2.7 billion in medical marijuana sales accounting for nearly half of all legal marijuana sales in the U.S. last year.

“People are definitely salivating over the California market,” Troy Dayton, chief executive of the ArcView Group told the New York Times in April. “It’s huge, and Californians love cannabis so much.”

Proposition 64 has been formally endorsed by the California Medical Association, the California Academy of Preventative Medicine, and bipartisan elected officials including Democratic U.S. Reps Ted Lieu and Jared Huffman and Republican U.S. Rep Dana Rohrabacher. If it passes in November, the law will take effect by 2018.

“Proposition 64 is a thoughtful, comprehensive measure based on sound, evidence-based science that will protect public health and fund vital health programs for California’s youth,” California Medical Association’s legislative director Donald Lyman told LA Weekly. “Now that Gov. Brown and the California Legislature have regulated medical marijuana, California needs a new and safe approach to controlling and regulating adult-use marijuana — one that ends improper diversion by healthy adults into the medical system, one that allows for evidence-based clinical research into the effects of cannabis and one that protects children and funds proven public health programs.”

The IGS poll was conducted by online questionnaire between June 29 and July 18.

Post by Eve Ripley

Eve is a writer specializing in cannabis education and editorials related to cannabis industry news.

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