(CNN) - A new poll indicates that a majority of likely voters in California oppose the state's proposition to legalize marijuana.
According to a USC/Los Angeles Times Poll, 51 percent of likely voters said they would vote against Proposition 19, which would allow people 21 years-old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Thirty-nine percent of likely voters said they support the measure.
Support for the ballot initiative also varies widely by age and race, according to the poll. Fifty-five percent of likely voters aged 18-29 said they support the measure, while 60 percent of those over the age of 65 oppose legalizing marijuana. Only 28 percent of those 65 and older said they support the measure. Latino voters indicated the strongest opposition to Prop 19. Fifty-seven percent said they opposed the measure, compared to 48 percent of white voters, and 49 percent of black voters.
Proponents of Prop 19 say it would generate much needed revenue and cut drug enforcement costs. The California Attorney General's office estimated that the measure has the potential to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars annually in taxes and fees, while saving the state tens of millions of dollars annually on costs related to incarceration and supervision of marijuana offenders.
But opponents, including the U.S. Justice Department and former heads of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, say the measure violates federal law and endangers public safety. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that the Justice Department will continue to enforce federal law regardless of the outcome of the ballot initiative. Federal law prohibits individuals and organizations from possessing, manufacturing, or distributing marijuana for recreational use.
The USC/LA Times poll was conducted by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, in conjunction with Republican polling firm American Viewpoint. It surveyed more than 1,500 registered voters from October 13-20, with a likely voter sample of 878 voters.