New poll shows voters favor Prop 19

FRESNO, Calif.

Our exclusive Action News SurveyUSA Poll shows Proposition 19's support comes largely from young people. Six in 10 likely voters between 18 and 34 support the measure. Voters like Ashley Highsmith at Fresno City College who, like many others, sees dollar signs.

"And I do feel that if we legalize marijuana we could possibly get another type of revenue in, especially with the budget cuts we're having toward CSU Fresno."

Besides allowing local governments to regulate and tax pot, Prop 19 would allow, with some restrictions, Californians 21 years and over to possess, cultivate and transport marijuana for personal use.

Law enforcement across the state, including in Fresno, say Prop 19 will create more impaired drivers, more crime and more temptation for young people.

"Proposition 19 is filled with lies and inaccuracies," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, "It is going to become very, very available to our youth. It's going to ultimately lead to other types of drug use, because we know marijuana is a gateway drug into cocaine, methamphetamine, and some of those types of drugs."

Despite its favorable poll numbers, Proposition 19 may lack real teeth. Even if passed its implementation may go the way of Proposition 215 -- the legalization of medicinal marijuana. 14 years after its passage it's still being litigated in the courts. And as Madera Police Chief Michael Kime says, federal law would supersede Prop 19.

Kime: "Even if this proposition were to pass, that doesn't relieve us from the responsibility of enforcing federal law, which clearly is still a crime under federal mandate."

Dyer: "The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, has said that the U.S. attorneys will prosecute these cases in the State of California."

Whatever its merits, Proposition 19 is a law poised to pass, but one that ultimately -- because of the federal government -- could go up in smoke.

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