When recreational weed became legal in California, it included provisions that gave local governments the power to bar pot shops. And according to reporting done by the Los Angeles Times, roughly three-fourths of all municipalities have done precisely that.
Yet despite the high number of localities that have prohibited cannabis retail, a new poll shows increasing support among residents for recreational cannabis. So much so, in fact, that the majority of all Californians now actively want pot shops in their cities.
The new data helps shed light on popular opinions regarding legal weed. And it could have implications for future cannabis legislation in the state.
New Poll Shows Growing Support for Legal Weed
The new stats come from a survey conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies. The study was conducted specifically for the Los Angeles Times.
Specifically, the survey asked California residents a range of questions about legal weed. These questions included things like whether or not people think legal weed is a good thing. Similarly, the survey also asked respondents for their opinions about marijuana retail in their specific cities and towns.
After compiling and analyzing all responses, key findings from the survey include:
- 68 percent of all respondents said that legalizing the retail of recreational cannabis has been a “good thing.” Notably, that number is up from initial support for legalization back in 2016. At the time that legalization was passed by voters, 57 percent were in support of the change.
- 63 percent of respondents said they are in favor of their city giving permits to marijuana shops. Los Angeles Times pointed out that comparably high levels of support came from all regions of the state.
- The majority of respondents in all age groups said recreational retail is a “good thing.”
Survey results were also broken down along a number of demographic lines. Some of these findings include:
- A majority of Democratic voters said recreational retail is a “good thing.”
- Republicans were one of the few groups opposed to opening local cannabis stores in their communities.
- Evangelical Christians were the other identifiable group where the majority opposed recreational cannabis retail.
“There hasn’t been any real buyer’s remorse about the [legalization] initiative,” Mark DiCamillo, director of the new survey, told the Los Angeles Times. “If anything, support has gone up.”
The Broader Implications
Interestingly, these new numbers could have several important implications. Especially when it comes to potential future legislation.
Most obviously, this level of public support could catalyze changes to local laws regarding marijuana retail.
This could be especially relevant, as there was already legislation proposed this year that took aim at limiting local governments’ ability to bar pot shops.
Earlier this year, a bill was proposed that would require cities where the majority of voters said yes to Proposition 64 to allow retail stores. The proposal would have led to the creation of an estimated 1,195 new pot shops.
The proposal did not advance this year. But supporters of the bill said they want to bring it back next year. In light of these new findings, it appears that there is even more widespread support for dispensaries.
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