Young adults are often the most progressive citizens, willing to shake up the establishment, so it should come as no surprise that California millennials favor legalizing cannabis. Californians between the ages of 18 to 29 support the Proposition 64 legalization law with a whopping 74%, helping put the effort to end prohibition in the Golden State at 58% according to the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.
It makes sense that millennials support legalization. Across the board, young voters are more likely to hold progressive positions that challenge the status quo, form marriage equality to the need to combat climate change to legalizing marijuana. Younger Americans also suffer the brunt of the disastrous consequences of cannabis prohibition and the Drug War in general, particularly those of color and those living in poverty, regardless of color.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, there are many reasons that voters support legalization:
Among respondents who support the initiative, 23% of all voters and 30% of Latinos said they do so because legalizing marijuana “would generate a billion dollars in tax revenue for California, which would go towards after school programs and job training initiatives.”
The poll found 22% support the measure because they believe the criminal justice system is broken and legalizing pot would allow more of a focus on violent criminals.
For 13%, pot should be legal because “using it is a personal choice, not something the government should regulate.”
Generating revenue, improving the criminal justice system and respecting personal liberty are all great reasons to support cannabis legalization. Additionally, 10% of those supporting Prop 64 in theUSC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll do so because cannabis is safer than alcohol.
The Prop 64 debate has been one of the most contentious legalization political battles that I have seen as many in the cannabis industry, Stoners Against Legalization as my colleague Russ Belville has dubbed them, fear bad consequences for the states medical programs as well as the thought that big business will have too much influence in the new cannabis market.
It was particularly distressing to see some medical cannabis proponents even join forces with Reefer Madness prohibitionist Kevin Sabet at a recent press conference. It appears that Californians are poised to agree with proponents of Prop 64 that stress the need to end arrests and citations while generating more revenue for the state. Californians need to make the decision that is best for their state, but I am personally hoping for a victory in the Golden State as it will definitely help the movement to legalize cannabis across the nation, and the world.