Hopes that California will become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana appear to be turning into a pipe dream. Voters plan to oppose a measure on the Nov. 2 ballot to legalize marijuana use by 53 percent to 43 percent, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday that showed a big change of sentiment from June.
Liberally inclined and financially troubled, California was the first state to flout federal law and legalize marijuana for medical use, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll in June showed voters nearly evenly divided on the measure to legalize sales and recreational use, known as Proposition 19. Marijuana use has taken off like a weed in California since voters in 1996 approved the drug for medical use. Doctors in markets including Oakland and Los Angeles are in price wars to provide medical referrals, which have fallen below $100, and Oakland in particular is setting up rules for the creation and taxation of marijuana-growing facilities.
But California is not as liberal as its reputation: enthusiasm for legalization in Los Angeles and San Francisco is offset by more conservative views in other parts of the state. And while Democrats support marijuana legalization and outnumber Republicans in the state, Republicans are more consistent in their opposition. Democrats support legalization 54 percent to 45 percent, but Republicans are against it more than two to one, at or 66 percent to 30 percent. Independents are nearly evenly divided.
Attention, Reuters writers: If you wanted to complete your silly pun trifecta, you could have suggested that public support for Prop 19 has gone "up in smoke."