Californians’ supports for legalizing marijuana is now even higher than when they approved the reform at the ballot in 2016, a new poll shows, and a solid majority of voters also want cannabis retailers to be operating in their own neighborhoods.
The survey from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) that was released on Monday found that 64 percent of residents support marijuana legalization. Likely voters are even more supportive, with 69 percent backing legalization.
When legalization was on the ballot seven years ago, the reform passed with a slimmer majority, with 57 percent of the vote.
The overall results of the new survey show that a supermajority of Democrats (77 percent) and independents (76 percent) favor legalization. That’s compared to 42 percent of Republicans who back keeping cannabis prohibition off the books.
While more than three in five Californians support legalizing marijuana, a smaller majority (56 percent) say that they want adult-use retailers to operate in their community. Again, likely voters are more likely to favor the commercial activity in their neighborhoods, at 60 percent.
“Although marijuana is legal in California, retail marijuana businesses are banned in 61 percent of cities and counties across the state,” PPIC said. “Just over half of Californians say retail sales of recreational marijuana should be allowed in their city or community. Here, too, there is a wide partisan divide, with strong majorities of Democrats and independents in favor compared to only one in three Republicans.”
California has long been at the forefront of #marijuana policy in the US, with voters approving to make it legal in 2016. So, how do Californians feel about it now? PPIC’s @DEANintheYAY takes a look https://t.co/7F8KGHH4g0
— Public Policy Institute of California (@PPICNotes) June 26, 2023
Asked specifically about the statewide ballot initiative Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis in 2016, respondents were largely in favor of the reform. Sixty-one percent of all residents (and 65 percent of likely voters) agreed that the reform “has turned out to be mostly a good thing for the state.”
Again, Democrats and independents were the most supportive, at 75 percent and 72 percent, respectively. But just 35 percent of Republicans said the same.
“Support for legalized marijuana and retail marijuana sales in cities or communities remains solid even as policymakers grapple with challenges and concerns related to Proposition 64,” the PPIC survey, which involved interviews with 1,576 adults and 1,062 likely voters from May 17-24, says.
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Meanwhile, a California Assembly committee recently approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize marijuana cafes, allowing dispensaries to offer non-cannabis food and drinks at their location if they receive local approval. The measure is largely consistent with a separate proposal to authorize cannabis cafes that passed on the Assembly floor late last month.
Also, state marijuana regulators announced last week that they have awarded $4.1 million to cities and counties across the state to support local cannabis business licensing programs working to address unmet consumer demand and help curb the illicit market.
The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) separately announced last month that the state has awarded more than $50 million in marijuana tax-funded community reinvestment grants.
DCC also recently awarded nearly $20 million in research grants, funded by marijuana tax revenue, to 16 academic institutions to carry out studies into cannabis—including novel cannabinoids like delta-8 THC and the genetics of “legacy” strains from the state.
California is additionally making moves to expand its marijuana market beyond the state’s borders, with regulators seeking a formal opinion from the state attorney general’s office on whether allowing interstate marijuana commerce would put the state at “significant risk” of federal enforcement action.
The request for guidance from DCC is a key step that could eventually trigger a law that the governor signed last year, empowering him to enter into agreements with other legal states to import and export marijuana products.
Separately, on Tuesday, an Assembly committee approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize the possession and facilitated use of certain psychedelics.
Photo courtesy of WeedPornDaily.