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Less than 38% of Californians admit recreational pot use

May 31, 2012 | 10:09 am

Marijuana poll

A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll of about 1,000 registered California voters taken May 17-21 showed that many more voters used marijuana "recreationally" than the 3% who said they used it as medicine.

Just less than 38% said they had indulged in pot for pleasure at least once in their lives — and 9% had in the last year. The questioners did not ask whether those who used the drug recreationally acquired it on the street or with a doctor's recommendation from a dispensary. The poll margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

The poll results showed that 43% of whites said they had smoked marijuana recreationally, while only 24% of Latinos said they had.

The new poll also found a majority of voters do not support legalization, even as they overwhelmingly back medicinal use for "patients with terminal and debilitating conditions."

Eighty percent of voters support doctor-recommended use for severe illness. Only 46% of respondents said they support legalization of "general or recreational use by adults," while 50% oppose it. Those against using pot were more adamant in their position, with 42% saying they felt "strongly" about it, compared with 33% for proponents.


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Photo: Volunteer Gregory Lyons, 63, of Oakland makes calls at Oaksterdam University in support of Prop 19, a marijuana legalization initiative, in Oakland in 2010. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times