Legalization Is NOT A Burning Issue for Californians


Here’s another wake-up call to anyone who thinks California is going to legalize cannabis for adult use in 2016.

A new poll finds legalization is not really a burning issue for Californians.

Just 30 percent of likely voters consider marijuana legalization “a very important issue,” The Public Policy Institute of California found. And about 32 percent of estimated California voters say legalizing marijuana in California “is not at all important.”

While about half of Californians are thought to support legalization, this new independent poll further illustrates how weak that support is.

By contrast, 63 percent of voters say “state bonds for schools are very important”.

Pot law reformers live in a little bubble. Meanwhile “Californians name water and the economy as the most important issues in the state.”

Sorry, legalization "not at all important" to 1 in 3 California voters. - PPIC
  • PPIC
  • Sorry, legalization "not at all important" to 1 in 3 California voters.

Income inequality has also emerged as a new drag on legalization’s momentum. While “marijuana” used to be derided as a drug of poor, hippy drop-outs, cannabis legalization is now being attacked for potentially benefiting the rich.

“Two in three Californians say the state is divided into haves and have-nots,” PPIC finds, and only 40 percent of Californians feel like they are in the ‘haves.’ Last month, voters in Ohio chose to continue locking up young Blacks for pot, rather than legalize it and potentially further enrich whites.

Legalization’s weakest link remains Latinos, PPIC finds. Almost four out of five California Latinos do not consider legalization “very important,” which could be a huge liability if Latinos turn out to vote against a Republican like Donald Trump.

For its 69th “Californians and Their Government series,” PPIC asked of 1,703 adult residents of Californian via landline or cellphone: “Several issues may be decided by California voters on the November 2016 ballot. Please tell me if each of the following issues is very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important to you. … How about legalizing marijuana in California?”

The full report is here. The Public Policy Institute of California provides independent research on major issues shaping California’s future. PPIC is a public charity established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett.

About ten different groups have filed a legalization initiative with the state. Doing so costs just $200. It'll take about $20 million to run a legalization campaign, experts estimate. And just one group, supported by the Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project, and technologist Sean Parker appears to have the funds to do it. That initiative has already come under attack not just from the political right, but also from the fringe legalization left.