For the first time ever, a majority of California residents want marijuana legalized.
A new poll shows that 52 percent of Californians favor legalization of marijuana, according to results released late Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.
The results reveal a rapid turnaround in public opinion on the drug. Earlier polls, conducted in 2010 and 2012, showed only 45 percent support for legalization.
Among likely voters — who would be the ones to decide if the drug should be legal in the state — support is even higher at 60 percent.
California is still years away from following the leads of Washington and Colorado and legalizing the drug.
A 2010 ballot initiative, Proposition 19, that would have allowed adults 21 years old or older to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana — sales of which would have been taxed by the state — garnered only 46.5 percent of the vote.
Efforts to put a successor measure on the 2012 ballot failed due to lack of funding.
At least one proposed marijuana legalization initiative is collecting signatures to qualify for the 2014 ballot, but most observers say 2016 is the likeliest election year for another legalization initiative.
In 1996, California became the first state in the country to allow adults to use cannabis for medical purposes, but the state has had an uneasy and erratic relationship with the drug since.
Repeated efforts in the state Legislature to regulate the medical cannabis industry also have failed.