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More Californians Now Say Marijuana Legalization Has ‘Positive’ Impacts Than Voted For It On The 2016 Ballot, State-Commissioned Poll Finds



A new poll commissioned by California marijuana regulators finds that 62 percent of adults believe the state’s legalization law is having a “positive” impact—an even greater percentage than actually voted to enact the reform on the ballot a little more than seven years ago.

As part of a new “Real California Cannabis” campaign, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) sponsored the survey from FM3 Research that was released on Monday.

The fact that 62 percent of respondents consider legalization effective is notable given that a lower percentage (57 percent) voted in favor of the adult-use cannabis legalization initiative at the ballot in November 2016.

The poll also showed that 86 percent of adults consider it important to shop for marijuana at legal retailers as opposed to in the unregulated market, a key objective for officials as the state works to combat illicit sales.

Another 72 percent of respondents said that consumers hold some responsibility to seek out licensed cannabis shops for their products.

But because individual jurisdictions are able to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses, that’s not always simple. And the poll also found that 85 percent of people who live in an opt-out area either mistakenly believed retailers were permitted or were unfamiliar with their local laws.

The survey further found that 52 percent of California adults have used cannabis. And of that group, 88 percent say they would buy products from licensed retailers. However, just 44 percent said it was “easy” to identify approved shops and 42 percent said it was “difficult.”

“Education and enforcement are two of the key pillars that support a well-regulated cannabis market,” DCC Director Nicole Elliott said in a press release. “The Real California Cannabis campaign will provide cannabis consumers with information that empowers them to make informed decisions regarding their cannabis purchases.”

“These smart choices support safer communities, local businesses, and our continuous efforts to disrupt the illegal market,” Elliot, who also discussed the importance of incorporating lessons from state regulatory models in a federal legalization scheme at an industry event last week, said.

The FM3 survey involved interviews with more than 1,000 California adults. The specific poll questions and crosstabs were not made publicly available.

The poll is being released one week after California regulators rolled out a new marijuana database that’s meant to help consumers, stakeholders and lawmakers better understand industry trends—including monthly sales data and information about cannabis licensees.

DCC separately released another online tool in 2022 that allows people to view an interactive map showing where marijuana businesses are permitted—and where they are blocked from opening—throughout the state.

Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) pledges to continue working to “strengthen” the state’s marijuana market, last month he also proposed to help close an overall government budgetary deficit by borrowing $100 million from a cannabis tax fund designated for law enforcement and other public safety initiatives.

The California legislature is also looking at ways to build on the state’s cannabis market, while exploring other drug policy reforms dealing with issues such as psychedelics.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Assemblymember Matt Haney (D) is renewing his push to legalize cannabis cafes in the state, with a recently introduced bill and plans to work with the governor and regulators to address concerns that resulted in the last version being vetoed.

Also, bipartisan California lawmakers recently introduced a new bill to legalize psychedelic service centers where adults 21 and older could access psilocybin, MDMA, mescaline and DMT in a supervised environment with trained facilitators.

The Republican Assembly sponsor of that legislation is also behind a separate psychedelics bill focused on promoting research and creating a framework for the possibility of regulated therapeutic access that has already moved through the Assembly this year with unanimous support.

Connecticut Lawmakers File Psilocybin Decriminalization Bill Despite Governor’s Concerns

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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