Poll: Californians favor pot initiative

June 1, 2010 at 2:45 PM
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LOS ANGELES, June 1 (UPI) -- Nearly 50 percent of California voters may back legalization of marijuana, but a third of that support is lukewarm, a Los Angeles Times poll indicated.

The Los Angeles Times-University of Southern California poll released Tuesday indicated voters back the marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot, 49 percent to 41 percent, with 10 percent expressing uncertainty. However, a third of those polled indicated they were only "somewhat" supportive.

"The good news for proponents is that they are starting off with a decent lead. 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," Dan Schnur, director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, said.

The November initiative would authorize cities and counties to legalize marijuana and tax sales.

The measure's supporters indicated taxes from marijuana sales could raise more than $1 billion in revenue, a statement opponents dispute, the poll indicated. Among voters, 42 percent said they believe the estimate while 38 percent said they thought the estimate was exaggerated.

Voters also split on whether legalized marijuana would exacerbate social problems such as increasing crime and sparking higher marijuana use among teenagers, the Times said. Among those who oppose the initiative, 83 percent said they thought the initiative, if passed, would add to the state's social woes.

The survey of 1,506 registered voters was conducted May 19-26. The margin of error is 2.6 percentage points.

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