I wouldn’t have to go out on a limb to say there was a time in the US when most activists thought California would be the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. That was before 2010, the year that brought the devastating defeat of Prop 19. The months after Prop 19 lost were some of the roughest in the short history of cannabis activists.
Debacles ensued in 2012 and 2014, when a legalization measure never even made the CA ballot. Lack of money and too many different groups trying to legalize hampered efforts to the point of non-action.
For 2016 there are several groups again fighting to make the ballot. The good news for all of them is that recreational legalization has never been more popular in CA, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute. A solid 54% of potential voters say they favor recreational legalization, which is a 3 percent increase from a poll taken by the same group last year.
Digging deeper into the numbers we find that even a majority of those aged 55 and older favor legalization (52%). A larger majority (61%) of those aged 18 to 34 are in favor. Of course favorable poll numbers don’t always lead to victory; there are many other factors involved. But going into a battle with less than 50% in the polls never bodes well.
The economic benefit CA would see from legalization would be immense, especially after hundreds of dispensaries were closed by US Attorneys in the state over the last few years. Hundreds of thousands of jobs and the resulting economic activity would be a boon to many of the struggling families in California, a boon unseen in the United States in a long time.
Time will tell whether the activists in CA will finally get it done.