New Poll: 65 Percent of Californians Support Tightly Regulated Pot Legalization

Polling firm Tulchin Research released the results of a new survey today showing 65 percent of Californians support the taxation and regulation of marijuana.

“The survey makes it clear that voters offer strong support for legalizing marijuana when it is coupled with a comprehensive regulatory system and an ability to collect revenues to fund public services,” the San Francisco polling firm stated in a release.

The phone survey of 1,200 California voters was conducted September 26 and October 6 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.


Live, professional interviewers calling landlines and cellphones asked a battery of questions including:

“There may be a measure on the ballot in the future to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in California for adults. It would still be illegal for minors, there would be penalties, for driving under the influence of marijuana, and it could only be sold in state regulated stores. The measure would tax marijuana and generate an estimated one billion dollars a year to fund schools, public safety and other essential services and there would be annual audits to ensure the money is spent as intended. Based on this, would you support or oppose this proposal?”

Sixty-five percent supported, with 46 percent “strongly supporting” the idea. Thirty-two percent were opposed and 3 percent said they could not decide.

Digging into the numbers, 50 percent of Republicans opposed the idea, and 46 percent of Latinos oppose as well.

Fifty-two percent of respondents who have never used pot supported the proposal.

Tulchin research joined Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom at the ACLU of California offices in San Francisco this morning to announce the figures, as well as the creation of a two-year-long “blue ribbon” panel to study legalizing cannabis, funded by the ACLU.


Newsom will chair the panel – which includes experts on constitutional law, drug use, plus law enforcement and activists representatives, and pollsters. The panel will author a series of white papers on topics like further regulating medical marijuana, taxation, banking, and could serve as a public blueprint for a winning initiative.

Here are the panelists, so far:

Chair: Gavin Newsom: Lt. Governor of California, outspoken advocate for marijuana law reform, highest ranking elected in CA on record calling for legalizing marijuana; most recently quoted in the NYT calling on other elected to say publicly what they say privately on this issue.

Sam Kamin: Law professor Denver Univ., constitutional law expert, appointed to CO Governor’s Task Force on Implementing that state’s legalization ballot initiative.

Alison Holcomb: Campaign manager of Washington state’s I 502 ballot initiative to tax and regulate marijuana; Criminal Justice Policy Director of the ACLU of WA.

Karen O’Keefe: staff attorney, Marijuana Policy Project.

Tamar Todd: attorney, Drug Policy Alliance; also helped draft ballot initiatives and legislation in many states including WA and CO

Craig Reinarman: professor Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, author and international drug policy expert.

Marsha Rosenbaum: former NIDA-funded drug policy researcher, author of articles concerning adolescents and drug use

Ben Tulchin: Tulchin Research

Corey O’Neil: Tulchin Research

Keith Humphreys: 2009-10 Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Stanford Health Policy Associate.

Dr. Timmen Cermak: immediate Past President, California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM).

Dr. Peter Banys: past president California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM)

Neill Franklin: Retired State Police Major (Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department) and Executive Director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)

Sheriff Laurie Smith: Santa Clara County Sheriff.

Erwin Chemerinsky: Dean, University of California, Irvine School of Law, Constitutional and Federal Jurisdiction Expert, Supreme Court litigator; author of treatises and textbooks, one of the legal experts in the country concerning federal jurisdiction and federal preemption of state laws.

Dr. Seth Ammerman, Professor, Stanford University; member American Academy of Pediatrics.

Two last-minute efforts are underway to try and legalize pot in 2014. But a larger, better-funded group is aiming for the 2016 presidential election.


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