Marijuana Legalization Opposed by Californians, New Field Poll Shows

Most Californians will pass, thanks
Poll Also Reveals Strong Support for Reform of State Budget Process

A Field Poll released today shows that efforts to legalize marijuana in California have lost ground since last year, and that state residents currently oppose Proposition 19 -- a November ballot initiative that would legalize and tax pot sales -- by a margin of 48 percent to 44 percent.

In April of last year, by contrast, about 56 percent of Californians told Field pollsters they supported legalizing marijuana.

"This number is not good," said Allen St. Pierre, spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "It certainly didn't warm the cockles of my heart to see 44." St. Pierre said the poor polling could also affect efforts to raise money for the pot-legalization campaign between now and November. "When it comes to fund-raising, if you don't have a '5' in your number ... that's not good," he said.

(St. Pierre added that he considers pot legalization in California a "fait accompli," and that even if Prop. 19 fails, "Californians are going to vote for legalizing marijuana at some juncture.")

The poll found that Prop. 19 has strong support in the nine counties that make up the Bay Area -- voters here favor the measure by a margin of 53 percent to 38 percent -- and that voters in Los Angeles County are evenly divided on it. Elsewhere in the state, the measure trails by six to 18 points.

The Field Poll also found that Proposition 25, which would allow the state legislature to pass a budget with a simple majority vote, rather than a two-thirds super-majority, is currently favored by most Californians. Some 65 percent of voters support the reform, while only 20 percent are opposed.

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