Politics & Government

Poll: Calif. voters turning against legal pot

Days before a landmark ballot decision on marijuana in the Golden State, California voters appear to be changing their minds about legalizing pot for recreational use.

A new California Field Poll shows Proposition 19 is losing 49 percent to 42 percent, less than a month after a September survey showed it winning by the exact margin.

The reversal in attitudes comes after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced his opposition to the measure and said the Justice Department would "vigorously enforce" federal marijuana laws in California if voters approved it.

Proposition 19 would make California the first state to legalize marijuana beyond medical use. It would permit adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of pot and to cultivate small amounts of marijuana at home. It also would allow cities and counties to tax and regulate retail pot sales.

Holder's contention that the mere act of paying taxes on sales of nonmedical marijuana would constitute an admission of a federal crime has challenged proponents' assertions that Proposition 19 could potentially generate billions of dollars in revenues for California and local communities.

"Voters in September were toying with the idea of approving this," said Mark DiCamillo, director of the California Field Poll. "I think they just got cold feet. The federal government coming out and saying they were going to prosecute vigorously probably dampened some of the enthusiasm."

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