For the first time, a majority of Californians want pot to be legalized, according to a new public opinion poll.
by the Field Research Corporation shows that 55 percent favor legalization of marijuana use compared to 31 percent who either want existing laws to be strictly enforced or to have even tougher sanctions passed.
The survey also found that 56 percent of recipients favor the adoption of a proposed statewide initiative to decriminalize the use and cultivation of marijuana in California.
The figures show how far Americans' views on marijuana have moved. In a similar 1969 survey, 75 percent of Californians wanted laws kept or toughened, while only 13% favored legalization.
The new survey conducted last week showed that eight percent believe the drug should be legalized so that it can be available to anyone while another 47 percent backed legalizing marijuana use with age and other controls similar to the restrictions placed on alcohol use.
Although public opinion has slowly switched over the past four decades from a tough anti-marijuana stance to one of general acceptance, this is the first time that a clear majority favoring legalization has been found in the Golden State.
According to the study, a marijuana advocacy group, California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014
, has been given the green light by the state Attorney General Kamala Harris to collect signatures to qualify for a statewide initiative to legalize marijuana for next November's election. The group has until February 24 to collect around 500,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot.
Although the proposed California initiative would legalize all uses of cannabis, the plant from which marijuana is derived, it would also prohibit marijuana use for anyone under 21 and also set a standard for intoxication similar to those for alcohol.
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