SAN FRANCISCO — With Californians likely to vote in November on whether to legalize marijuana, some key swing voters — Democratic and independent women — are expressing a surprising reason why they would support the initiative.
The suburban "soccer moms" told pollsters that the Tax and Regulate Initiative, which would give local governments the authority to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis to adults 21 or older, would provide a safer way for their adult children to buy pot.
"One of the scary things to some people is that their kids may be buying it from someone dangerous," said Ruth Bernstein, a pollster with EMC Research, an Oakland, Calif. firm that has worked on behalf of the measure's proponents.
California already boasts some of the nation's most pot-friendly laws. Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor, and those who obtain approval from a physician can grow or possess cannabis under the state's voter-approved 1996 medical marijuana law.
Proponents of the measure said last month they had gathered 680,000 signatures — 433,971 are required to get on the ballot — and said they will submit the signatures to the secretary of state in mid January to be verified.
Opposition to the measure comes from law enforcement organizations and conservative religious leaders who oppose legalization on public safety and moral grounds.