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56% Of California Voters Want To Legalize Pot

Weed (Photo by BlaisOne via Shutterstock)
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A new poll finds that a clear majority of California voters want to legalize weed.

The Field Poll released a poll today showing for the first time in its polling history that the majority of California voters—56% to be exact—think legalizing weed is a good idea. Those numbers makes sense given that California voters tend to be a little more pro-legalization than the rest of the country, which also favors legalization by a slim majority.

Medical marijuana, of course, has been legal in California since 1996, but 53.5% of voters in 2010 rejected an initiative that would legalize weed. But the numbers have only improved for advocates over time. Now 47% of voters would want to treat weed like alcohol with age limits and such. In 1969, only 10% of people thought that was a good idea. In 1983, that number those to 28%, In 2010, 46% people were on board.

Right now 8% support a free-for-all, while 12% of voters think there should be less stringent penalties (though our penalties for having less than an ounce aren't all that strict). 17% of voters like the status quo, while 14% think marijuana laws should be tougher.

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The demographics break down mostly how you would expect. More Democrats favor legalization (65%) than Republicans (39%). It's a generational thing as well as an ideological thing. People 18 to 49 years old prefer it more (64%) than people 50 to 64 years old (50%) and much more than people over 65 years old (47%). Coastal counties (60%) prefer it to inland counties (47%). The Bay Area really wants it (70%) and Los Angeles County is mostly cool with it (55%). The more education you have, the more likely you are to be okay with legalization: college graduates support it (64%) while people with a high school education or less aren't so into it (39%).

There's a chance California voters will vote on the issue soon. Already, three ballot measures with an eye toward legalization have been submitted to the California attorney general’s office this year. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a panel this October that would study the issue in the hopes of putting a measure on the 2016 ballot, according to the Sacramento Bee.