Polls show increased support for Prop 19

FRESNO, Calif.

A field poll shows likely voters support Proposition 19 by a 49-to-42 percent margin. In July Prop 19 trailed by four points.

The new field poll is similar to an exclusive Action News Poll conducted by SurveyUSA this month. It showed 47-percent of likely voters said they would vote to legalize marijuana, while 43-percent were opposed.

Proposition 19 would allow you to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Some students at Fresno City College like John Miguel say legalizing pot could decrease gang violence. "Think of it, gangs make the most money out of it. If you take it away from them the gangs go down and look now everybody is living much safer."

But Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says Proposition 19 would open the door to a big problem. "It would be a mess for law enforcement."

The proposed law would allow people to grow a marijuana garden up to 25-square-feet. "You can grow a lot of marijuana in 25 square feet so that means that's going to be a target of theft, a target for that kind of violence," said Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.

Marion Tilley says Prop 19 would take dope dealers off the streets. "People wouldn't have to sell it. People wouldn't go to jail for it. People, the government wouldn't have to spend money to send people to jail over these petty crimes."

The sheriff says Prop 19 wouldn't raise any state revenue through marijuana taxes. "The proposition allows counties and cities to tax marijuana but the state proposition does not so there would be no state budget monies generated as a result of this," said Sheriff Mims, "to make it socially legal sends the wrong message to our children."

Mims had an ally in Cesar Gomez. "For me to come around to school and have people smoking that around me, just let alone cigarettes it hurts my head, so I can see why people wouldn't like that."

Even if Prop 19 passes, cities and counties would still have the power to authorize and regulate any pot sales.

Field poll support for Prop 19 was strongest in L.A. and San Francisco, but only 30-percent of valley voters polled said they supported legalizing pot.

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