Public Policy Institute Finds Majority of Californians Favor Legalization

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Public Policy

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On May 25, 2016, the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank, issued a press release that reported the results of a statewide survey on the upcoming presidential election and related federal issues, as well as California’s U.S. Senate race and the three issues likely to be on California’s ballot in November: marijuana legalization, extending the proposition 30 tax on high-earners and increasing the cigarette tax.

According to the PPIC, 60 percent of likely voters in California support the legalization of recreational marijuana. If the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, a ballot initiative supported by Napster billionaire Sean Parker and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome, appears on California’s ballot in November, it would need more than 50 percent of the votes to pass.

In anticipation of AUMA passing, PPIC has reported that California’s legal recreational marijuana market would generate an estimated $1 billion in tax revenue each year. Substance abuse prevention and treatment programs would receive most of this tax revenue, with 43 percent of likely voters believing it is “very important” to spend the revenue this way.

“California seems poised to show its blue state credentials in the fall,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “Voters today are signaling their early support for Democratic statewide candidates, tax initiatives, and marijuana legalization,” Baldassare said.

PPIC’s results are based upon a telephone survey of 1, 704 adult residents of California conducted from from May 13 to 22.

On April 16, the PPIC released a report that analyzed Washington and Colorado’s regulatory infrastructure for recreational marijuana as a means of coming to the conclusion that the state of California should establish a tightly regulated recreational marijuana market.

“California should err on the side of more restrictive regulation,” said Patrick Murphy, the report’s coauthor and a research director at PPIC. “The fundamental fact is, from a political perspective, it would be easier to loosen a tight market than tighten a loose one.”

Before California can start creating a tightly regulated recreational market, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has to validate AUMA’s petition signatures and then AUMA has to earn more than 50 percent of the votes in November.

According to The Orange County Register, “Early Secretary of State reports show the Adult Use of Marijuana Act … submitted more than the needed 365,880 signatures just in Southern California. And more than three quarters of the signatures sampled from counties that have completed the verification process – 15 out of 58 in the state – have been deemed valid.”

The staff byline designates content that has been written by a staff writer of MJINews.

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