Ballot Measures

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Ahead of Tuesday's Election Gmail Founder Donates to Legalize Marijuana

Location: 
CA
United States
Gmail and FriendFinder founder Paul Buchheit says that adults should be able to smoke marijuana for fun. Mr. Bucheit's donation of $100,000 to the California Yes on Proposition 19 campaign surpasses Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz’s $70,000 donation. Some more of the tech industry's brightest minds have also supported the campaign -- Sean Parker the financial supporter behind Napster and long-time Facebook collaborator, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, and Innovative Interfaces President Steve Silberstein have all donated money to it.
Publication/Source: 
DailyTech (NC)
URL: 
http://www.dailytech.com/Ahead+of+Tuesdays+Election+Gmail+Founder+Donates+to+Legalize+Marijauna/article20031.htm

Polls Have South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative Trailing Badly

South Dakota Measure 13, the prairie state's highly restrictive medical marijuana initiative, was trailing badly in a Sioux Falls Argus-Leader/KELO-TV poll released Friday. Only 32% of likely voters polled said they supported the measure, while 62% said they opposed it.

The Argus-Leader/KELO-TV poll is the second in a week to show the measure trailing. A Nielsen Brothers poll released last Monday had it losing 53% to 33%.

If the polls are anywhere near accurate, it would be a devastating step backward for the state's medical marijuana movement. South Dakota already holds the dubious distinction of being the only state where voters rejected medical marijuana, but in 2006, it lost narrowly with 48% of the vote.

While the Nielsen Brothers poll provided no further breakdown of support and opposition, the Argus-Leader/KELO-TV poll did. Opposition to Measure 13 was strong with both men (61%) and women (63%), as well as among independents (57%) and Republicans (73%).

Only among Democrats were there high levels of support (46%), and even among that group, the initiative couldn't crack 50%.

In an analysis accompanying the poll results, the Argus-Leader said, "In the absence of definitive scientific evidence that marijuana has valuable medical properties, South Dakota voters seem swayed by the arguments opponents of ballot Initiative 13 make." It cited arguments from law enforcement and from the head of the South Dakota Medical Association as resonating well with voters.

Emmit Reistroffer, who heads the South Dakotan Coalition for Compassion, told the Argus-Leader he was surprised by the poll results. He said in his travels across the state, the greatest concern raised was that a retail network for marijuana sales might emerge. The initiative does not contain provisions allowing for dispensaries.

"South Dakota wants a conservative approach" to medical marijuana use, he said. "We want to teach voters how restrictive our measure is. Once they come to an understanding of that, I see where we have gained a lot of support."

SD
United States

Marijuana Legalization Contingent at the Stewart/Colbert Rally

I am heading downtown after finishing this blog post, to join my cohorts in the drug policy contingent at the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" this afternoon. There are hundreds of people we know are joining us, and we're hoping to recruit many more by handing out signs. The picture here is of signs that DPA made up for the occasion, a cartoon version of a recent John Stewart program where he commented that "the 'legalize pot' sign always shows up."

We've made signs up for the occasion, a huge number of them, reading "Yes on Prop 19." Our hope is to get on TV with them and help the Prop 19 voter turnout in California next week. Of course a lot of groups hope to get on TV today, and a lot of people will be there. But our side has done pretty well with coverage for this so far, including articles on CBS and Talking Points Memo, and thanks to George Soros there are Prop 19 ads actually running during Colbert's and Stewart's shows (at least in California), so maybe we will.

See an Alternet piece written by our friends Yair Tygiel of DPA and Stacia Cosner of SSDP, "Rally to Restore (Drug Policy) Sanity," and if you're in town stop by the StoptheDrugWar.org/SSDP office for pizza and Prop 19 phonebanking today between 3:00pm and midnight. And of course check back here for pictures.

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Oregon Marijuana Dispensary Initiative Faces Uphill Battle [FEATURE]

Despite a lack of organized opposition, Oregon's medical marijuana dispensary initiative, Measure 74, faces an uphill battle as election day draws near. In a poll last week, it had only 40% support, almost unchanged from the 41% who supported it in an August poll.

Still, Measure 74 supporters are hoping that last minute campaign efforts, as well as an increase in "unlikely voters" will get the measure over the top. Yes on Measure 74, the main group pushing the initiative, commissioned a poll earlier this month of young, progressive voters inclined to sit out this year's election. It found that those voters were more than twice as likely to vote when told about the measure than when told about elections for state officer.

"The latest polls are using a likely voter model that is not favorable to us, so the poll numbers don't look so good," said campaign spokesman Anthony Johnson. "Forecasters are expecting a right-wing Tea Party wave, and what we are doing is calling voters under 40 who voted in 2008. If young voters come out like they did in 2008, we win in a landslide. It's all about turning out the vote."

The campaign was able to use Democratic Party phone banks in the get out the vote effort this week (the party endorsed the measure in October), but that's late in the game. In Oregon, voters vote by mail, not at a polling station, and the vote has been ongoing all month.

Since passage of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act in 1998, the number of Oregonians with a medical marijuana recommendation has ballooned to more than 36,000. But without a dispensary system in operation, patients either have to grow their own or find someone they can designate as a caregiver to grow for them. There are currently over 19,000 people registered as caregivers.

Medical marijuana advocates attempted a dispensary initiative in 2004, but that effort was defeated. It got 42.8% of the vote.

Measure 74 would create a system of state-licensed nonprofit dispensaries and grow operations to supply them. It bars dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools or residential neighborhoods. It sets annual fees for providers at $1,000 and for dispensaries at $2,000. Both growers and dispensaries would additionally pay a 10% sales tax on all medical marijuana transactions. Revenues from the dispensary and grow operations could boost state coffers from anywhere between $3 million and $20 million a year, according to a financial impact statement prepared by state officials.

While Measure 74 has reported only a few tens of thousands of dollars in donations this month, there is no organized opposition. Proponents are airing radio commercials in Portland and Eugene, and a legion of volunteers are putting up yard signs and doing get out the vote efforts across the state. There have been no opposition TV or radio ads.

"This has been a low-budget, grassroots campaign," said Johnson. "At the end, we got $25,000 to run radio ads by Tom Potter, the former police chief and mayor of Portland, and we're expecting another $50,000 to come. We also got $10,000 from Peter Lewis, and Drug Policy Alliance head Ethan Nadelmann rounded up another $15,000."

"The opposition is law enforcement, and that's about it," said Johnson. "We have 11 voter pamphlet arguments on our side, and there are only two opposing. One of them is a combined effort of sheriffs, police chiefs, and prosecutors. The other is from Oregonians Against Legalizing Marijuana, which is in cahoots with Calvina Faye's Save Our Society From Drugs."

Oregonians Against the Legalization of Marijuana executive director Shirley Morgan will not debate the issue or do interviews, according to Johnson, but Save Our Society From Drugs has a web page attacking Measure 74. It warns that passage of the initiative could lead to the same "pot shop chaos" as has occurred in California, Colorado, and Montana. The web site also worries that dispensaries could be robbed and that passage could lead to -- gasp! -- "heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas."

One thing helping the campaign this year is near unanimity and unity within the state's often fractious marijuana and medical marijuana movements. Despite bickering and backbiting in the run-up to the campaign, almost all of the state's advocacy groups are now on the same page regarding Measure 74. The one exception is the Stormy Ray Cardholders Foundation, which has opposed this effort to create a dispensary system that would ease access issues for patients.

The hour is late for Measure 74. Given that Oregon is a mail-in voting state, most votes have probably already been cast. Whether a last minute push now can make the difference will be known in a matter of hours.

OR
United States

World Series Reporter's 'They're Smoking Weed' Clip Becomes Prop. 19 Ad

Location: 
CA
United States
Just before game two of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers on Thursday, a reporter for a Dallas television station filed a story on the scene outside AT&T park for the local audience back home. But rather than the usual cliches about the picturesque view of San Francisco Bay, Newy Scruggs' story dealt almost entirely about marijuana being used by fans a short distance away. The group Internet Today quickly edited and tacked on a pro-Proposition 19 message to the end of the clip, which proceeded to go viral on the Internet and become the subject of talk radio and newspaper reports.
Publication/Source: 
AOL News (US)
URL: 
http://www.aolnews.com/surge-desk-elections/article/world-series-reporters-theyre-smoking-weed-clip-becomes-vira/19695175

Proposition 19 Backers Turn to Jon Stewart, Colbert and Comedy Central with Marijuana Ads

Location: 
CA
United States
The initiative’s supporters, armed with cash from recent major donations, are targeting young voters who polls show overwhelmingly support legalization with commercials on Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report".
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times (CA)
URL: 
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/10/proposition-19-ads-will-air-on-comedy-cental-and-sf-bay-area-radio-.html

Vicente Fox on California Legalizing Pot: "May God let it pass”

Location: 
CA
United States
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has thrown his full support behind Proposition 19. "How great it would be for California to set this example. May God let it pass...The other U.S. states will have to follow step," he said.
Publication/Source: 
Foreign Policy (DC)
URL: 
http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/10/28/vicente_fox_on_california_legalizing_pot_may_god_let_it_pass

Ad Watch: Anti-Proposition 19 Spot Distorts Its Impact

Location: 
CA
United States
A radio ad against Proposition 19 paid for by the California Chamber of Commerce's Business PAC depicts a stoned California work force. But, the chamber's claims contradict rules on marijuana in the workplace upheld by the California Supreme Court and federal law. The chamber's warnings of companies being defenseless against stoned workers – and in danger of losing millions of dollars in federal drug-free workplace grants – don't square with a landmark 2008 state Supreme Court decision.
Publication/Source: 
The Sacramento Bee (CA)
URL: 
http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/28/3138355/ad-watch-anti-prop-19-spot-distorts.html

Prop 19 Still Trailing in Polls, But with Hopeful Signs

Proposition 19, is trailing in more polls, adding to a run of disappointing poll results as election day draws near. According to the Talking Points Memo Polltracker, five separate polls in the past week have Prop 19 losing by an average of 50.3% to 42.6%. (A Yes on 19 internal poll not included in the Polltracker has the measure ahead 45% to 42%.)

VOTE
A SurveyUSA poll released last Wednesday had the measure trailing 44% to 46%, well with the poll's 4% margin of error. As SurveyUSA put it, "not yet enough breathing room for 'No' to be considered a clear favorite, but enough of a 'Yes' erosion for backers to be gravely concerned."

A CNN/Time poll released last Tuesday was worse. It had Prop 19 losing 53% to 45%, with a +/-3.5% margin of error, among likely voters. (The numbers were slightly better for registered voters, 51% to 47%). The measure trailed among both men (46%) and women (44%) and whites (42%) and non-whites (49%). Only among liberals (76%), voters under 50 (57%), Democrats (55%), and in the San Francisco Bay area (55%) was Prop 19 polling a majority.

[Update: A final Field poll released Sunday also showed the measure down.]

The CNN/Time poll measured responses from 1,328 registered voters and 888 likely voters. The poll was conducted by phone interview.

The SurveyUSA poll is worrisome because a series of SurveyUSA polls as recent as October 18 had Prop 19 winning, but it does hold some grounds for hope. It measured both likely and actual voters -- early voting has been going on for several weeks now -- and it also polled cell phone users. Among people who only had cell phones, Prop 19 led, 48% to 36%. It also led among people who rarely vote in midterm elections, but who said they'd be voting this time, by a margin of 53% to 39%. And it led among people who had not yet voted, 45% to 42%, while trailing among those had already voted, 43% to 54%.

Those poll findings suggest that the initiative could still emerge victorious if it can get the young and tech-savvy and the "unlikely voters" who may be motivated by the issue to actually get out and vote. Prop 19 and its allies have been whipping their get out the vote campaign hard, and this week's million dollar infusion courtesy of George Soros may still give it the oomph to get over the final hurdle on Tuesday.

CA
United States

Latino Police Officers Endorse Prop 19 [FEATURE]

The National Latino Officers Association (NLAO) endorsed Proposition 19 Wednesday, citing a new report that found Latinos are disproportionately arrested for simple marijuana possession in California. Latinos are arrested at two to three times the rate of whites, the report found, even though they use marijuana at a lower rate than whites.

Prop 19 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 or older and allow them to grow up to 25 square feet of pot and possess the resulting harvest. It would also allow cities and counties to permit, regulate, and tax the commercial cultivation and sale of marijuana.

"As police officers sworn to protect public safety and the well-being of our community, NLAO is proud to endorse Proposition 19," said the group's Manuel Rodriguez at a Wednesday press conference. "Prohibition is dangerous and deadly. Keeping marijuana prohibition has allowed a lucrative black market and threatened public safety in our community and the USA," he said. "Instead of making our streets safer, we're spending that money incarcerating tens of thousands of people, including many Latinos."

While Latinos are more likely than whites to be arrested for pot possession in California, they are also arrested at rates disproportionate to their numbers in the state. In Irvine, for example, Latinos make up 9% of the population, but account for 20% of all pot possession arrests. Similarly, in San Jose, Latinos account for 30% of the population, but 55% of all pot possession arrests, the report found.

California is home to some 14 million Latinos, who account for 37% of the state's population. But because many Latinos are foreign nationals, they account for only 21% of the state's electorate. Still, Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the state, and nearly two-thirds of them are registered Democrats. Support for Prop 19 among Latino voters has varied widely in polls, and Wednesday's press conference and endorsement were designed to bring this key demographic over to the "yes" side.

"This report documents very significant and widespread disparities in arrest rates for low-level marijuana possession," said Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which sponsored the report. "Latinos have been arrested at double and triple the rate of whites in the past few years. There has been an extraordinary escalation in arrests for small amounts of marijuana in the past 20 years," Gutwillig added, noting that pot arrests have tripled to more than 60,000 annually since 1990.

The big increase in marijuana possession busts has come as arrests for all other crimes, including other drug offenses, have dropped dramatically in the state, Gutwillig noted. "At the heart of the dramatic increase in arrests have been substantial race-based disparities, specifically targeting Latinos and African-Americans, and especially young African-Americans and Latinos."

Since federal arrest data does not include a specific category for Latinos, marijuana arrests rates for the group are substantially undercounted, Gutwillig said. Disproportionate minority arrest rates are not the result of racist cops, but a systemic problem, he added. "The disparities documented in this report are the result of routine, pervasive police practices," he said. "This is a statewide phenomenon."

Also at the press conference was Diane Goldstein, a retired lieutenant commander with the Redondo Beach Police Department and a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "The current war on drugs has not just failed," she said, "but is a policy disaster. We need solutions that deal with our communities' drug problems. We believe that through regulation, control, and taxation, we will actually decrease the likelihood of the youth in our community using marijuana," she said. "Drug abuse is a health problem, not a law enforcement matter. It is time for us to overcome our fears and and honestly assess the results of a drug war against our youth. Proposition 19 is a step in the right direction."

Police have other, more pressing priorities than nickel and dime pot busts, said Rodriguez. "We as the NLOA are backing California on this so we can concentrate on crimes that are violent," he said. "We've got worries about terrorists and explosions and two wars going on. We can concentrate more on terrorism instead of going into communities and locking up Latinos and African-Americans. We can use that money from marijuana revenues for schools and education," he said.

Proposition 19 spokesperson Dale Sky Jones also addressed the press conference. "We've found  in California and across the country that currently policy has failed," she said. "We have an opportunity to take cannabis and its profits out of the hands of criminals and to put it in the hands of those who will control and regulate and tax it. Prop 19 was written to protect our kids, and we have an opportunity to create tens of thousands of green, sustainable jobs for households."

It's less than a week from election day, the vote for Prop 19 is going to be very close, and every endorsement counts. Now, the campaign has one more law enforcement group on its side.

CA
United States

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