America Wants What California Almost Has — Legal Recreational Pot

America Wants What California Almost Has — Legal Recreational Pot
File photo by Gustavo Turner/L.A. Weekly

In November, California voters will have a chance to legalize recreational marijuana. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) would allow people 21 and older to possess as much as an ounce of weed, which would be regulated like alcohol and taxed at a rate of 15 percent.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll last month found that 60 percent of likely voters in the Golden State are in favor of legalizing recreational weed.

That's a strong sign that AUMA could pass and California could join the cool-kid states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — in legalizing recreational cannabis. California voters turned down a similar initiative in 2010.

Now the whole nation might be falling in line. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that a majority of American voters support recreational legalization. 

Fifty-four percent of registered voters agreed that "marijuana should be made legal in the United States," the university said in a statement. Forty-one percent said marijuana should remain an illegal drug.

Only 36 percent of registered Republicans said yes to legalization. Sixty-seven percent of voters 65 or older are also against it, Quinnipiac found.

When you put the wellbeing of veterans in the mix, the numbers go through the roof.

Political leaders, including Orange County U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, have been calling on Veterans Affairs to allow vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to get their hands on medical marijuana.

So far they've been unsuccessful.

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Quinnipiac found that a whopping 87 percent of voters say veterans should be able to get cannabis in pill form to treat PTSD. Only 9 percent were opposed, the poll found.

On the question of allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to all adults 21 or older who need it, 89 percent of American voters said yes.

The university says 1,561 were polled. The results have a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

"The fact that a majority of American voters favors legalizing marijuana in general shows how attitudes about the drug have changed," says Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The ball is now California's court.

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