If the latest polling is correct, California voters will approve the legalization of recreational cannabis for adults in November by a comfortable margin.
But that is a large if.
Either way, recent polling conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that a majority of California voters up and down the state say they’ll vote to approve Prop. 64 — California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which would legalize small amounts of cannabis for adults 21 and over.
According to PPIC’s survey of 1,702 California adults, 60 percent of likely voters say they plan to vote yes on Prop. 64, to 36 percent who say they prefer keeping cannabis illegal. As has been the case in California and elsewhere in the nation, support was highest among young voters and among voters who say they are Democrats or independents.
Prop. 64 needs only a bare majority — 50 percent, plus one more vote — to be approved, but 60 percent is considered a wide enough cushion to account for question marks like aberrations in the poll, voters staying home, and hanging chads.
A 60 percent vote in favor is also a large enough lead for big-time donors to feel like they can write big checks without running the risk of their campaign contributions being wasted on an unsuccessful campaign. And true to that script, Prop. 64 is raking in checks, collecting $7.4 million from tech billionaire Sean Parker to date as part of nearly $12 million in available campaign cash.
The recent poll shows that when it comes down to funding schools, taxing cigarettes, taxing the rich, or freeing cannabis from prohibition, voters are most interested in weed.
Prop. 64 garnered the most interest from polled voters, when asked about four different ballot measures: Props. 51, 55, and 56, which deal with school funding, a bigger cigarette tax, and taxing the rich, respectively. Half of voters said that the outcome of Prop. 64 is very important — and the voters to whom cannabis legalization is most vital? Prohibitionists.
Nearly 59 percent of people who said they would vote no on Prop. 64 also said that that marijuana legalization is a very big deal.
“It’s interesting that the opponents of the marijuana legalization initiative are more likely than its proponents to say the outcome is very important to them,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s president and CEO, in a press release issued Wednesday.
Maybe that’s because many cannabis users feel that they already enjoy the “right” to shop and smoke and peace under medical marijuana law? If so, they should be reminded that Prop. 215 only gives them a defense in court from laws forbidding cannabis use and possession — both of which would be expressly legal, even in limited amounts, under Prop. 64.
But as they say, something is better than nothing.
Do you support Prop. 64?