Support for Medical Marijuana Initiative Increases Since Passage, Field Poll Finds
Support for Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot initiative allowing state physicians to recommend marijuana to sick patients, has increased "dramatically" among voters since the time it was approved, according to a survey conducted by Field Poll, the Sacramento Bee reports (Bluth, Sacramento Bee, 1/30). The survey, released Friday and based on interviews with 500 registered voters between Jan. 5 and Jan. 13, found that 74% of respondents support Proposition 215, compared with the 56% of voters who approved the measure, the Stockton Record reports (Shuck, Stockton Record, 1/30). Support for medical marijuana appears to be consistent among "all political, ideological and age groups," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. However, a majority of respondents said marijuana should not be legalized and taxed for recreational use (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/30). The survey found that:
- 83% of registered Democrats, 63% of registered Republicans and 73% of non-partisan or other party members support the implementation of Proposition 215;
- 56% of conservative voters, 92% of liberal voters and 78% of moderate voters support Proposition 215; and
- Respondents ages 18 to 64 supported Proposition 215 at rates of at least 76%; 59% of respondents ages 65 and older supported the measure; (Field Poll release, 1/30).
While the survey showed support for medical marijuana has increased among voters since 1969, opposition to legalizing marijuana for recreational use has "not changed much in the past 20 years," according to the Record (Stockton Record, 1/30).
Mark DiCamillo, who directed the survey, said, "A majority of (voters) are supportive of implementation of the law. There is no subgroup -- be it conservative, be it regular churchgoer, be it Republican -- that is opposed." However, according to the Bee, Proposition 215 has "largely stalled" because federal law prohibits the possession of marijuana for any reason (Sacramento Bee, 1/30). Richard Meyer, spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Agency in San Francisco, said the survey represents "the success the marijuana lobby is having in deceiving the public by distorting all the facts" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/30). The Field Poll report is available online. Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.