California: Field Poll Reports Record High Support For Legalizing Marijuana

California: Field Poll Reports Record High Support For Legalizing MarijuanaSan Francisco, CA: Fifty-four percent of California voters support legalizing cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol, according to polling data released last week by the Field Research Corporation. The total is the highest percentage of support for legalization ever reported by the Field Poll, which began measuring Californians’ public opinion on this issue in 1969. At that time, just 13 percent of Californians endorsed legalizing the consumption of marijuana by adults.

The 2013 total marks a four percent increase in voters’ support for marijuana legalization since July 2010 – the last time the Field Poll posed the question – when 50 percent of Californians said that they backed legalizing the plant.

Nationally, a December 2012 Public Policy Polling telephone survey of US voters reported that 58 percent of the public believes that cannabis "should be legal." So far in 2013, lawmakers in nine states – Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont – have introduced legislation to legalize and regulate the consumption and retail sale of cannabis to adults.

Sixty-two percent of male respondents said that cannabis should be regulated like alcohol versus only 46 percent of female respondents. Cannabis legalization enjoyed majority support among all age groups other than those age 65 or older.

Solid majorities of Caucasians and African American voters supported legalization. Only 41 percent of Latino respondents did so.

Regarding the legalization of cannabis for therapeutic purposes, 72 percent of respondents said that they supported the state’s 16-year-old law allowing for physicians to authorize marijuana medicinally. By a greater than two to one margin (67 percent to 27 percent) voters said that they oppose efforts by the federal government to crack down on California dispensaries that provide cannabis to state-qualified patients.

A complete breakdown of the 2013 Field Poll results is available online at:

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director at: