State Marijuana Poll: Voters Overwhelmingly Support Legalization of Weed in California

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While the federal government, state lawmakers and local city council members wage war on the California medical marijuana industry, the average resident supports the idea of legalized pot.

That’s the major finding of a new marijuana poll that asked 800 likely voters across California about their thoughts on proposed cannabis legislation and the war on drugs in general.

The survey – conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates Inc. – revealed that 62% of respondents support a high-profile ballot proposal to regulate marijuana like wine. About 35% said they do not support the marijuana legislation, while 3% said they are unsure.

At the same time, a whopping 80% said they agree with the statement that U.S. drug laws have failed and that the country needs a “new approach that makes sense for today.”

It’s an interesting finding (if accurate), as it seems to pit the voters against the government. While federal, state and local law enforcement agencies initiate a high-profile crackdown on California’s medical pot industry, it seems residents aren’t as concerned about pot shops and grow operations.

In fact, most California residents simply don’t see marijuana as a big deal in the first place: 71% said they think law enforcement agencies spend too much time and money enforcing marijuana laws and could better use those resources elsewhere.

The issue could come to a head this fall. The proposal at the center of the poll – called the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012 – would pave the way for the use of marijuana by adults for any use, including purely recreational reasons. Under the initiative, the state would regulate and tax cannabis and hemp under a framework similar to the one set up to oversee the wine industry.

Supporters of the proposal are in the process or gathering enough signatures to get the marijuana legalization issue on the fall ballot.

“There is no policy that is more discriminatory or wastes more tax dollars” than the one tied to weed, Steve Collett, treasurer for Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, said in a release. “This initiative helps farmers, reduces prison overcrowding, relieves burdens on the courts, generates revenues for the state, and frees up police to work on real crimes.”

It’s worth noting, however, that Regulate Marijuana Like Wine spearheaded the poll, so you can be sure that the crowd opposed to pot will take issue with the findings.