Many states have proposed and support blanket legalization of marijuana, regulated and controlled like alcohol, but, perhaps surprisingly, California is not one of them. According to a new University of Southern California Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll that was released earlier today, the general population of California is not in support of legalizing recreational use of marijuana.
However, while only 46% of responders said they support legalizing marijuana for "general or recreational use by adults," an overwhelming 80% support doctor-recommended medicinal use of cannabis for severe illness and disability, showing California's strong stance and staunch moral and scientifically backed outlook that marijuana is medicine.
There seem to be a few factors that influence the results. One is age. 58% of those in their late teens and 20s support recreational use, while only 28% of those over 64 years of age approve, illustrating an obvious generational gap that remains consistent with the general populations evolving views on marijuana.
A second factor is that many California voters believe that the ambiguity of the laws in California have created a situation in which the Compassionate Act of 1996 is being abused by the number and methods of medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. Dan Schnur, Director of the Jess M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, told the Los Angeles Times that voters "like the idea of providing marijuana for medical use, but they're worried that the law is being abused."
NORML's Dale Geireinger told the Standard-Examiner that "voters are hesitant to liberalize the marijuana laws any further until the chaos of the current system is worked out," suggesting that there would be more support for a State Assembly Bill (AB 2312) backed by NORML and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) that would create a state board to enact and enforce statewide regulations, similar to what Colorado has done.