Poll Shows California Voters Approve of Marijuana Legalization, Don't Want To Punish Pot Offenders

In a new poll from Quinnipiac University, California voters say legalizing marijuana has been good for the state, by a margin of 54 - 31 percent. Hispanic respondents had a slight edge over Whites, and men say 59 - 26 percent that legalizing marijuana has been good, compared to 49 - 35 percent among women.

A majority of respondents in almost every region of California approve of legalization (Coastal 60%; Bay Area 58%; Southern California 53%); only the Inland Valley disagreed at 45%. Californians in every age group except those 65 and over also approve, with 70% of those age 18-34 in agreement, and 65% of those age 35-49. Only 51% of respondents aged 50-64 think legalization has been good for California, while only 38% of those over 65 do. Democrats approve of legalization at 61% while only 33% of Republicans said they do.

There is almost no gender gap on the second question asked of voters, "Do you support or oppose erasing criminal records for marijuana possession?” where 64 - 28 percent are in support, carrying strongly across all regions of California and all age groups. However while 69% of Whites support erasing records, only 54% of Hispanics do. Republican support for erasing records is higher than their approval for legalization at 43%, and Democrats came in at 74%.

“This poll shows that California voters are happy with marijuana legalization in the state, and moreover don’t want to see people punished for possessing pot,” said Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML. “The dire consequences opponents warned of before voters approved Prop. 64 in 2016 to legalize the recreational use and sale of cannabis haven’t materialized, and instead the state is starting to see the benefits of a regulated market.”

From January 30 - February 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 912 California voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

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