Drug War

California Continues to Be Less Hippie Than Expected: Only 46 Percent of Residents Support Marijuana Legalization


Much was made of the 2011 Gallup poll which noted that for the first time a majority — well, 50 percent, so no longer a minority! — of respondents supported marijuana legalization. This contrasted nicely (for fans of less government, that is) with the minuscule 12 percent support for legalization in 1969 when the question was first asked by Gallup and even the relatively restrained 36 percent support for legalization in 2006. Things are moving in the right way!

Much was also made of the frustrating 7-point loss of California's Prop. 19 in 2010, which would have legalized recreational use of marijuana. Medical use has been legal since 1996, in spite of various federal crackdowns (especially lately). 2012 will no doubt bring further pushes for legalization, since marijuana legalization has suddenly become a non-fringe political cause supported by serious people, but those might be more likely to succeed in Colorado or other places less divided than the supposedly hippie-tastic soialist paradise. After all, a new Los Angeles Times poll of 1000 voters showed a-less-than-national-average support for legalization of weed in California—46 percent. Notes The Washington Post:

The USC/LA Times poll found California voters overwhelmingly support doctor-recommended use of marijuana for the severely ill, with about 80 percent in favor of medical marijuana for the terminally ill and severely disabled.

The San Francisco Bay Area was the only region in the state where a majority — 55 percent — favors legalization. That compares with 41 percent in Southern California.

Those against marijuana use were more adamant in their position, with 42 percent feeling "strongly" about it compared with 33 percent for proponents.

Twenty-eight percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats polled liked the idea of marijuana legalization. Sixty-eight percent of Independents favor it.

The poll also noted:

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 poll results showed that 43% of whites said they had smoked marijuana recreationally, while only 24% of Latinos said they had.

The poll also said that more than 80 percent of responders supported medical marijuana for "severe" medical problems. The really downer takeway is that the pro-legalization camp has lost three percentages of support since 2009.

This fact, as well as the fact that more young people than old support legalization is not at all surprising. Nor is the fact that more Democrats and particularly more Independents support the policy. This is true in other polls, especially in Gallup's national one. But it's still surprising that California cannot either legalize gay marriage or marijuana, two theoretically leftish causes that most libertarians can also get behind. Nevertheless, the marijuana shift is happening, just perhaps no faster in Californian than in most other states.

Reason on marijuana.

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  1. Wow, I was told that California knew how to party.

    Guess I was told wrong.

  2. personal anecdote on this. I was talking to a couple WOW buddies on this subject who imbibe MJ heavily. They voted AGAINST prop 19 just because they expected MJ accessibility would actually go DOWN once the regulate and tax folks got a hold of it.

    Annecdotal I know, but I get the sense that that view isnt an outlier.

    1. Well it’s certainly a demonstrable issue in the supply faction.

    2. WOW buddies

      You may not want to advertise your association with the War on Women? quite so broadly.

      Just a friendly tip from one Reasonoid to another…

    3. Right, because when everyone is allowed to grow it, it will be hard to get.

  3. 54% are opposed to legalization? Is that exactly 100% of government employees there, the ones who benefit from the drug war? I knew there were a lot of them but I had not realized they had reached 54% of the population.

  4. People who never been to California think the entire state is LA or San Francisco. I,ve driven through some small towns in California that were so full of rednecks I thought I back home or in the Deep South.

    1. I don’t think the rednecks are the problem. Farmers, bikers, and truckers will probably all support legalization. From the latest collective ban that just made it through committee in LA, I think the problem comes from those that clutch their pearls and think of the children.

  5. A full three percentage points since 2009? Really?

    Brain Drain – emigration of a large group of people with technical skills and or knowledge.

    Note that I do make the assumption that the percentage of people in favor of legalization is higher amongst those with a high level of technical competence.

  6. I never really thought about it like that before.


  7. I think it has to do with the negative experiences some have had with the collectives. They imagine there will be collectives and crime everywhere. The soft ban on collectives just made it through committee in LA.

  8. It’s because Californians are “hippie dippy” but statists in tie dye shirts.

  9. The Los Angeles Times has been putting out Anti-Marijuana/Propaganda laden “News Articles” (Not that they are actual news) since proposition 19 was introduced.

    They only polled 1000 people. I don’t believe it accurately represents the wishes of California voters.

    The latest Rasmussen poll from earlier this week shows that 56 percent of voters nationwide (the majority) support complete marijuana legalization nationwide.

    Nation-Wide Marijuana Legalization is coming much sooner than The L.A. Times and other supporters of prohibition think, and there is nothing that they can do to stop it.

  10. Didn’t hippies drop acid? Where’s the poll for LSD legalization?

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