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Poll Finds Californians Favor Medicinal Pot Over Complete Legalization

LOS ANGELES (CBS SF) – A new poll shows 50 percent of California voters don’t want marijuana legalized for recreational use, along with overwhelming support for doctor-recommended use of pot for the severely ill.

The University of Southern California Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday shows 46 percent of respondents support legalization for recreational use by adults.

“In California at least, there has not been a significant shift,” said Dan Schnur, director of the Jess M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

“There was an initiative on the ballot not too long ago that was narrowly defeated by a similar margin.”

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Less than 30 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats favor legalization, while 60 percent of Independents think marijuana should be legal.

“The higher support among independents makes perfect sense–somebody who would rebel against the traditional two-party system,” Schnur said.

He suggested negative news about potential abuses of medical marijuana have influenced public opinion in the state.

“What that may have done is made California voters a little bit more reluctant to support marijuana for recreational use.”

The San Francisco Bay area is the only region in the state where a majority, 55 percent, favors such legalization, compared with 41 percent in Southern California and 49 percent in Los Angeles County.

Eighty percent of those surveyed support medical marijuana use for the terminally ill and severely disabled.

“In California, at least, there’s not been a significant shift,” Schnur said, despite big changes in the nation as a whole.

A Gallup poll in October found nationwide support for the recreational legalization of pot for the first time since 1969.

“So at least in this case, the California stereotype seems to be turned a little bit on its head,” Schnur said.

The USC poll contacted about 1,000 registered voters statewide from May 17 to May 21. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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