Majority of Americans, Californians support legalizing pot

marijuana.jpgNew Gallup poll finds that 58 percent favor and 39 percent oppose, the broadest approval since the pollster start asking the question in 1969 (only 12 percent backed legalization that year). Especially striking is the sharp increase in support over the past year, no doubt helped by winning campaigns in Washington and Colorado. Not surprisingly, younger Americans are more likely to back legalization, and older ones are less likely to embrace the idea. In California, according to a September poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, legalization is favored by a 52-45 percent margin (those numbers haven't changed much in recent years). Last week, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for legalization, and proposals for a statewide referendum in 2014 have been bouncing around. The most obvious question is whether the federal government would interfere with new state laws - as has been the case with California's medical marijuana laws. So far, the Obama administration has said that it would not challenge the legality of Colorado's and Washington's successful referendums if those states maintain rules on sale and distribution. That seems like a big if, especially since pot legalization is one of those bifurcated issues (a little like same-sex marriage) where support depends on where you live.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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