Poll shows Californians support legalization of marijuana

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A poll released Wednesday found that a majority of California voters favor the legalization of marijuana.

The poll, conducted by the Field Research Corporation, revealed that Californians support the legalization of marijuana by a margin of five to four, with nearly 54 percent in support.

“We (are trying) to bring the public opinion into the deliberation,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, one of California’s leading public polls.

The survey was conducted among 834 registered voters of different ages, political affiliations, genders, marital statuses, ethnicities and geographic regions.

“The broad support for medical marijuana in California is nothing new,” said Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access, a group that promotes safe and legal access to cannabis. “In fact, there is even greater support amongst the country, upward of 80 percent.”

The Field Poll conducted a similar poll in 2010, which found that only 50 percent of voters favored the legalization of marijuana.

In the most recent poll, two new questions were added about medical marijuana dispensaries and the federal government’s crackdown on these businesses.

Support for the federal government’s crackdown on businesses trying to sell marijuana for medical purposes was only 27 percent.

“It’s heartening to have statistics that show that two-thirds of Californians believe that Obama’s crackdown on marijuana is wrong,” Hermes said.

Since the 1996 passage of Proposition 215, which legalized the possession or cultivation of marijuana for medical use when prescribed by a doctor, more voters have voiced their support for the law, according to the poll. Currently, support for Prop. 215 is at 72 percent, according to the Field Poll.

“Marijuana has been medicine for 5,000 years and has only been legal since 1967,” said Erik Miller, manager at Berkeley Patient’s Care Collective, a local cannabis dispensary. “The government should back off and leave sick people and their caregivers alone.”

Contact Tara Hurley at [email protected]