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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chronic City: 77 Percent Of L.A. Residents Favor Dispensaries; Majority of West Coasters Want To Legalize Pot

Posted By and on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley may have believed he was safely playing to the grandstands when he promised to shut down all of L.A.'s estimated 800 to 1,000 medical Marijuana dispensaries, magnanimously declaring that "approximately zero" of the dispensaries were operating legally in exchanging weed for cash. But perhaps Cooley should check his numbers: In a new poll taken this week and released today, the reaction of Los Angelenos sounds more like a chorus of boos and hisses.

click to enlarge Dear Weed: We love you, and we don't want you to go away. Signed, California - PHOTO BY COASTER 420, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Photo by Coaster 420, Wikimedia Commons
  • Dear Weed: We love you, and we don't want you to go away. Signed, California
More than three-quarters of the voters (77 percent ) in Los Angeles County want to see medical Marijuana dispensaries regulated, rather than prosecuted and forced to close, according to the poll, funded by a pro-pot advocacy group and completed Monday and Tuesday. The poll also found that 74 percent support the California's medical Marijuana law, while 54 percent want to see Marijuana completely legalized, regulated and taxed.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a national organization that supports Marijuana legalization, commissioned the poll by independent firm Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, after Cooley threatened every dispensary operator in the county with arrest and prosecution. Cooley, along with newly elected L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, claim that the dispensaries are selling Marijuana for profit in violation of state law.

The attempts by anti-pot zealots to paint the dispensaries as

unpopular and the medical Marijuana law as out of control simply aren't

based in the facts, according to the new poll. "I think the take-home

message here is voters in L.A. County overwhelmingly support the

state's medical Marijuana law," MPP spokesman Bruce Mirken told the Los Angeles Times. "They think dispensaries, properly regulated, can be a part of that, and Mr. Cooley's really out of step."


The

Los Angeles City Council is on the verge of passing a law which would

ban sales of Marijuana in L.A. Dispensary operators say pot stores

technically do not sell the herb, but collect donations to recoup their

costs, in accordance with California Attorney General Jerry Brown's

published guidelines (PDF).

Dispensary owners fear the new ordinance will be used against them, and

Cooley's heavily publicized anti-pot hot-dogging has certainly done

nothing to quell their concerns.


Gallup Poll Shows West Coast Majority Backs Legalization

A separate poll, released Saturday by respected national polling firm Gallup,

finds a majority, 53 percent, of Americans on the West Coast favor

legalization of Marijuana. Support falls to 44 percent nationally, but is at a

record level and has grown throughout the past decade, according to

Gallup.


The poll numbers could bode well for

Marijuana legalization advocates in California, where the issue could

be on the 2010 ballot.


According to the

polling service, which has been posing the Marijuana legalization

question to likely voters since 1970, national support for legalization is on a roll. Last time Gallup asked the question, in 2005,

only 36 percent of Americans nationwide said they backed legalization.


Gallup's results echo and underline those of separate national polls conducted this year by Zogby, ABC News, CBS News, Rasmussen Reports, and the California Field Poll -- all of which reported record support for Marijuana legalization.

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