There is widespread and strong support for ballot measures that would legalize marijuana in California and enact stronger gun control measures in the Golden State, a new Field Poll found.

It’s the strongest backing for marijuana legalization ever recorded by the Field Poll, which has been tracking public opinion on the drug for more than five decades.

The last time marijuana legalization was on the California ballot, in 2010, the Field Poll reported that an even 50 percent of likely voters supported the measure; Proposition 19 ultimately failed by just 7 points.

Both of this year’s cannabis and gun control measures enjoy support from 60 percent of likely voters polled online between Sept. 7 and Sept. 13 by the Field Poll and Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.

The survey found strong support across demographic groups, with only majorities of Republicans and conservatives opposing both initiatives. Around 30 percent of voters oppose the measures, and the rest are undecided. Women are far more likely than men to support the gun control initiative.

Proposition 64 would legalize the adult use of marijuana and tax the drug. Proposition 63 would require background checks for the purchase of ammunition and mandate that any lost or stolen guns be reported to law enforcement. It would also set up a process for felons prohibited from owning a firearm to turn in their weapons, fully ban magazines with more than 10 rounds of bullets and make the theft of a gun a felony.

Some of Proposition 63’s provisions were enacted in legislation approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year, but the ballot measure goes further than that package of bills.

The Field Poll has been tracking public opinion of marijuana legalization for over 50 years, and has seen support for ending prohibition grow dramatically over that time.

In 1969, just 13 percent of California residents said they supported making cannabis legal. In 1983, that number had grown among likely voters to 30 percent. By 2013, support for legalization swelled to 55 percent.

  • Blackcoffee

    Vote no on 64. The initiative to legalize recreational marijuana is not well written and it will set back the constructive regulation of cannabis. I live in Humboldt County, and there has been slow and painful progress to regulate cannabis grows and reduce environmental and neighborhood destruction. If Prop 64 passes, all that work will be scrapped and it is estimated it will take ten more years to have responsible regulations and agencies in place to enforce any restrictions to size and location of grows, water usage, rodenticides, etc. An initiative cannot be altered by courts or the legislature. Please read the text of 64 and see its limitations. I support recreational and medical cannabis. This is not a good way to get there.


Marisa Lagos

Marisa Lagos reports on state politics for KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk, which uses radio, television and online mediums to explore the latest news in California’s Capitol and dig deeper into political influence in the Golden State. Marisa also appears on a weekly podcast analyzing the week’s political news.

Before joining KQED, Marisa worked  at the San Francisco Examiner and Los Angeles Times, and, most recently, for nine years at the San Francisco Chronicle where she covered San Francisco City Hall and state politics, focusing on the California legislature, governor, budget and criminal justice. In 2011, she won a special award for extensive and excellent work in covering California justice issues from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and also helped lead the Chronicle's award-winning breaking news coverage of the 2010 San Bruno Pacific Gas & Electric explosion. She has also been awarded a number of fellowships from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.

Marisa has a bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She and lives in San Francisco with her two sons and husband. Email: Twitter @mlagos Facebook

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