Opposition grows, but pot legalization leads

September 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Should marijuana be legalized in California for personal use? The voters will decide, and the battle is intensifying as election day draws closer.Opposition to Proposition 19 is growing, according to an exclusive Eyewitness News poll by Survey USA. But the measure to legalize marijuana is still in the lead.

According to the survey, 47 percent of Californians say they're certain to vote "yes" on Prop. 19. That's down 3 percentage points from August. Forty-three percent say they're certain to vote "no." Ten percent remain "uncertain."

Two previous Survey USA polls had the initiative to legalize and tax marijuana in California ahead by 10 percentage points. Now the lead is down to 4 percentage points.

Pollsters identified several core voting groups giving momentum to the decline:

  • Women
  • Older Californians
  • Minorities
  • Central Valley residents

"I'm against it. I have teenagers and I don't think things like that should be legal," said San Dimas resident Sonia Guidanian, a Prop. 19 opponent.

"It's the folks who are most concerned with what legalizing the recreational use of marijuana will do to children, to schools, to ethnic communities, to public safety," said Roger Salazar, No on Prop. 19 campaign spokesman.

Supporters of Proposition 19 point out they are still leading and expect to win on election day.

"We're seeing that Californians are ready to embrace some modest, common-sense reforms to our failed marijuana laws," said Dan Newman, Yes on Prop. 19 campaign spokesman.

The poll shows solid support remains among men and young voters, especially if the state stands to gain more than a billion dollars in taxes a year.

"It's good because it produces money for the state," said L.A. resident Pernell Wright, who supports Prop. 19. "The state is in a deficit right now and we need the money, so I think it's a great thing."

"If people are going to do it and it's going to benefit California, then might as well," said Hollywood resident Tadji Akhavan, a Prop. 19 supporter.

Just this week U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein announced she'll co-chair the campaign against the legalization of marijuana with L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, who Wednesday blamed a triple murder on a marijuana deal gone bad.

"Is it no surprise that people are going to get killed behind this easy profit? Drugs and violence go together," Baca said Wednesday.

The Proposition 19 campaign said they, too, have some law enforcement support, including retired judges and former police chiefs, lined up and ready to tell voters in the remaining weeks before election day that marijuana should be legalized.


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