California voters don't support legalizing pot

May 31, 2012 at 2:45 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 31 (UPI) -- A poll of California voters found they don't support legalizing pot, although they approve the use of medical marijuana as treatment for severe illness.

The poll, conducted by the University of Southern California Dornsife and the Los Angeles Times, found that just 46 percent of voters support the legalization of marijuana for "general or recreational use by adults," while 50 percent oppose it, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The poll questioned about 1,000 registered voters between May 17 and 21 across California. It had a margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

"They like the idea of providing marijuana for medical use, but they're worried that the law is being abused," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

Nationwide, however, more voters are for the legalization of pot for recreational use than in California. A Gallup poll in October showed support nationwide for legalizing marijuana at 50 percent and a May Rasmussen Report found 56 percent of voters said they were in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana sales like alcohol and tobacco.

The USC/Times poll found that Independent voters -- 60 percent of them -- were most likely to support the legalization of marijuana, while 50 percent of Democrats said they support it and just 28 percent of Republicans said the same.

"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.

"It's no worse than alcohol or tobacco that are currently legalized," said Daniel, a 41-year-old Independent who was polled. "People should absolutely not be persecuted for it."

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