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May 31, 2012

"California voters don't back marijuana legalization, poll finds"

La-me-pot-poll.eps-20120530The title of this post is the headline of this Los Angeles Times report on a new poll concerning California's pot perspectives.  Here are the details:

A majority of California voters remain opposed to legalizing marijuana, according to results of a new poll. Eighty percent of respondents said they support doctor-recommended use of marijuana to help deal with severe illness, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found. But only 46% said they support legalization of "general or recreational use by adults," while 50% said they 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 Bay Area was the only region of the state where a majority -- 55% -- favored legalization, compared with 41% in Southern California and 49% of voters in Los Angeles County.  There was a pronounced drop-off in support with age, with 58% support among those in their late teens and 20s, 51% for those between 50 and 64, and 28% of respondents older than 64.

As for political affiliation, 28% of Republican and 50% of Democratic respondents said they favored the idea of legalization.  Independents gave the idea a boost, with 60% saying they favored it.

The survey indicated opinions have not measurably changed since voters defeated the Proposition 19 legalization initiative in 2010 by similar margins.  And oddly, given the state's long role as a leader in marijuana decriminalization and cultivation, support for sanctioning its general use here appears to lag behind the sentiment in the rest of the country.

Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said the poll numbers suggest that California voters are concerned about the way the Compassionate Use Act, passed in 1996 to permit use of 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.

The new poll of about 1,000 registered voters taken May 17-21 statewide indicated that many more voters used marijuana "recreationally" than the 3% who said they used it as medicine.  Just less than 38% said they had used pot for pleasure at least once in their lives -- and 9% said they had done so 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's margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

Some recent and older related posts on pot policies and politics: 

May 31, 2012 at 01:42 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I said a few days ago that a Rasmussen poll showing 56% support for legalizing pot was an outlier. There was the usual uproar that I was just anti-pot and that the country was riding the crest of a pro-pot revolution.

Now we see a poll in a state that by any measure is more pro-pot than the national average. The poll shows support at a minority, 46%. This is consistent with other recent polls, which show legalization support at somewhere between 40% and 50%.

Seizing on one poll is almost always a mistake, and it was a mistake to do it with Rasmussen.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 31, 2012 3:14:32 PM

Enough Bill. Regulating what people put into their body is always wrong, unless it is sugar.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | May 31, 2012 4:01:12 PM

The third question says it all as far as who was represented in the poll, 56% of those polled have never had any experiences with it recreationally or otherwise and with a sampling error of +/- 3.5%, I'd say a majority for or against in either category is still too close to call as far as giving a clear plurality for or against it. Face it, it will be accepted at some point in the near future. Each successive poll over the past 25 years has shown a clear course of increasing acceptance of the substance whether for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Posted by: Hank | May 31, 2012 4:12:30 PM

TarlsQtr --

Nailed it, as usual. Now could you pass me another doughnut?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 31, 2012 6:45:01 PM

Hank --

"Face it, it will be accepted at some point in the near future. Each successive poll over the past 25 years has shown a clear course of increasing acceptance of the substance whether for medicinal or recreational purposes."

It's hard to disagree. After all, the public is becoming steadily more enlightened about this subject, therefore it's only a matter of time before we get the Equal Rights Amendment.

How's that?..........oh, ummmm...........Never mind.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 31, 2012 6:49:05 PM

Would the same people favor or oppose "general or recreational use by adults" of alcohol by the same margins?

Posted by: George | May 31, 2012 7:04:58 PM

'therefore it's only a matter of time before we get the Equal Rights Amendment.'

I'm surprised as someone who was once active in the law profession doesn't know the difference between a Constitutional Amendment proposal and a change in basic drug laws...you need to approach the bench for a sidebar discussion about the fundamentals of legislated law

Posted by: Hank | May 31, 2012 8:13:41 PM

Watch Bill Otis attempting to present an argument in favor of the drug war. He is barely coherent. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmQrGhQoE_o

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | May 31, 2012 8:25:20 PM

Hank --

Nice try. The point, as you know, is that the proclamations of inevitability, because of alleged growing public "enlightenment," are essentially identical.

You don't need to be a lawyer to know that there are no facts about the future. You just need to get some distance from the True Believer Crowd.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 31, 2012 8:42:13 PM

CCDC --

Thanks for the publicity, albeit a couple of years late. It was a pleasure to visit Ohio State and share the stage with Doug Berman, a gentleman and a scholar.

I'd debate you, too, except that it's hard to arrange a debate with someone who -- albeit for understandable reasons -- won't give his name.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 31, 2012 8:49:21 PM

Bill Otis ---

or "her" name

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | May 31, 2012 9:47:10 PM

So do you want to debate or not?

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 31, 2012 9:53:15 PM

Drugs, including marijuana and alcohol, should be legal. Government has no business telling me or Jane Doe what we, and other adults voluntarily put in our own bodies, much less putting us in jail for it.

Driving under the influence is properly subject to government sanction.

The drug war has proven to be an insanely expensive, colossal failure. Prohibition doesn't work.

Legalization is inevitable. All polling of those under the age of approx. 45 reveals that inevitability.

Debate over.

I win. You lose.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | May 31, 2012 11:07:46 PM

You debate yourself, anonymously as ever, from behind the Internet curtain, adopting conclusions as premises, refusing to face questions or any live exchange from the opponent or the audience, and declare yourself the winner.

Far out.

Tell ya what: Let Professor Berman do it. He doesn't need, doesn't use, and wouldn't have your numerous crutches.

Hey druggies, is this how you want your side represented? Then don't be surprised that the LA Times poll shows what it shows.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 1, 2012 2:46:55 AM

CCCP stated: "Prohibition doesn't work."

Seems to work in many far east countries like Singapore just fine.

CCCP stated: "Debate over. I win. You lose."

It appears you need to get your Thorazine script renewed. Is your depression creeping back in or is it just a regression to when you were 8?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 1, 2012 9:08:20 AM

CCCP stated: "All polling of those under the age of approx. 45 reveals that inevitability."

This is such a naive and childlike outlook. There is a quote attributed to Churchill, "If you are not a liberal before the age of 26, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative after the age of 27, you have no brain."

People change as they get older. Present company excluded, most people grow up and their outlook changes with age. To imply that the youth of today will necessarily have the same outlook in middle age and in their elderly years is beyond absurd.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 1, 2012 9:14:35 AM

Bill Otis is Ken Starr --- a puritanical, crusading, authoritarian drug warrior.

TarlsQtr is the Grand Wizzard of the KKK.

Naturally, they both spend their days watching the Fox News Channel.

Fortunately, their kind will soon be close to extinct.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 1, 2012 11:19:54 AM

Seems to work in many far east countries like Singapore just fine.


"duH" We do not live in the far east! Don't use marijuana but it should be legalized.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 1, 2012 1:29:40 PM

Did any of you look at the poll? It was done over the phone, you can see the full text at http://www.greenbergresearch.com/articles/2749/7223_052112_usc_la_times_fq_Thursday.pdf. In particular, notice how the question was framed. Here are two of the previous questions in that poll:

Q.48 Now for something a little different. As you may know, state legislators in Sacramento are currently limited to serving six years in the state Assembly and eight years in the state Senate, for a total of 14 years. Some people are proposing changing this law to reduce the length of time state legislators can serve from 14 years to 12 years, but would allow them to serve all 12 years in one House if they want to. From what you know, do you favor or oppose this proposal to change term limits for state legislators in California?

Q.49 (SPLIT A) Now for something a little different. Some people have proposed that the state legalize online poker and collect a cut of the proceeds from gambling websites, which some legislators say would generate 200 million dollars or more each year for the state budget. From what you know, do you favor or oppose this proposal?

Q.54 Now for something a little different. As you may know, California voters passed a law in 1996 that allows the use of marijuana for a wide range of medical ailments and many people have already used it. Regardless of how you feel towards marijuana in general, do you favor or oppose allowing patients with terminal or debilitating conditions to possess and consume marijuana if their doctors recommend it? (80% overall in favor)

Q.55 Do you think marijuana should be legalized for general or recreational use by adults?

No mention of tax benefits as with on-line poker. No discussion, just a simple yes-or-no. Also the drug is so vilified that many respondents who are aware that we don't live in a free society may not wish to give their true opinion on this contentious subject.

Posted by: Bill K | Jun 1, 2012 3:39:21 PM

Bill K --

You would have a better case that the poll is skewed if it did not so closely agree with the voting results on Prop 19 a year and a half ago.

I went to law school in California, and the idea that pot is "vilified" in that state is a hoot. It is, very much to the contrary, the "in" thing among those who consider themselves sophisticated.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 1, 2012 6:01:08 PM

This from the guy who lectured me about respecting the rule of law...

Posted by: Bill K | Jun 1, 2012 8:25:28 PM

Of course it's the same self-styled "sophisticated" crowd that regards itself as above the rule of law.

When a person claims, as you have, the prerogative to decide for himself which categories of democratically enacted and judicially approved law he will obey, and which he will relegate to vigilante treatment, he invites a lecture on the rule of law.

Not that your response has much to do with the rule of law in any event. You made a factual (not legal) claim that pot is "vilified" -- indeed, so "vilified" that poll respondents would be frightened to tell a pollster that they would prefer legalization.

Neither claim is supported by any citation. The claim that pot generally is vilified in California is false (lionized would be more like it), and the claim that respondents feel intimidated from saying they would prefer legalization is grossly implausible and, at all events, at best undocumented. What's the evidence for it?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 1, 2012 8:57:38 PM

'the "in" thing among those who consider themselves sophisticated.'

wow that sounds like something I'd expect to hear from someone aged 75+ or maybe someone whose just really out of step with with the year 2012 and the thought processes of a very large portion of the people who live in it... it's quite likely that I'm as old as you if not older and even I'm baffled by that statement

Posted by: Hank | Jun 1, 2012 9:51:03 PM

Hank --

"wow that sounds like something I'd expect to hear from someone aged 75+ or maybe someone whose just really out of step with with the year 2012 and the thought processes of a very large portion of the people who live in it..."

I believe the LA Times poll, taken in the year 2012 (indeed last month) shows that a LARGER portion of the people currently living (or at least living in very blue California) agree with me than with you. So who is more out of step?

P.S. Please furnish any evidence you have that the poll over-represented persons 75 and older.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 1, 2012 11:31:28 PM

CCCP stated: "TarlsQtr is the Grand Wizzard of the KKK."

Sure. LOL The only racism displayed here is your assumption that I am not an African-American male on the basis that an AA would not support the "war on drugs" or have otherwise conservative leanings.

PS You do realize that the KKK was the terrorist wing of the Progressive/Democrat party, correct?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 2, 2012 10:18:26 AM

Anon stated: ""duH" We do not live in the far east! Don't use marijuana but it should be legalized."

Are you claiming that Americans do not respond to the same pyschological reward/punishment stimuli that someone from the orient would?

Write a paper on it. It would rock the world of psychology forever.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 2, 2012 10:21:46 AM

TarlsQtr --

Maybe CCDC if just jealous. I hear he's running for Imperial Klud this year.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 2, 2012 3:58:00 PM

"Are you claiming that Americans do not respond to the same pyschological reward/punishment stimuli that someone from the orient would?"


Tarlsqtr you are a genius!

Posted by: Anon | Jun 2, 2012 7:25:06 PM

Any evidence to back up the claim that Americans do not respond to the same pyschological reward/punishment stimuli that someone from the orient would?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 2, 2012 8:00:49 PM

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