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2010

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Californians Still Want to Legalize Marijuana, Despite Prop 19 Results

California voters rejected Proposition 19, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative, by just under eight percentage points, but a post-election poll has found that they still favor legalizing pot. The poll also suggests that if youth turnout had equaled that in 2008, the campaign to free the weed would have ended in a dead heat.

According to the poll, which was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, 52% said marijuana prohibition does more harm than good. And 49% said marijuana should be legalized, with 41% opposed and 10% undecided.

"There’s a fair amount of latent support for legalization in California," said Anna Greenberg, the firm’s senior vice president. “It is our view, looking at this research, that if indeed legalization goes on ballot in 2012 in California, that it is poised to win."

So why didn't Prop 19 win? One quarter of those who opposed Prop 19 had considered voting yes and 31% of the no voters said they believed marijuana should be legalized or have penalties reduced, but objected to some aspect of the initiative.

The poll did not ask those respondents specifically what was wrong with the initiative. It would have legalized the possession of up to an ounce of weed for people 21 and older and it would have allowed them to grow up to 25 square feet and keep the resulting harvest. It would also have given cities and counties the ability to permit, tax, and regulate commercial marijuana sales and cultivation.

The poll did find, however, that Prop 19's provision making it difficult for employers to fire workers just for testing positive for marijuana may have hurt. Voters said by 50% to 44% that employers should have the right to fire workers who test positive even if they are not impaired.

This issue isn't going away.

CA
United States

Despite Prop. 19 Loss, Marijuana Debate Still Aflame in Mexico

Location: 
Mexico
While some Mexicans expressed relief that California’s Proposition 19 was defeated in Tuesday’s election, others felt that the fight in Mexico was just beginning. The proposition, which essentially would have legalized marijuana in California, had a renewed sense of urgency south of the border, where the body count in the government’s crusade against drug trafficking organizations continues to rise.
Publication/Source: 
New America Media (CA)
URL: 
http://newamericamedia.org/2010/11/after-prop-19-marijuana-debate-still-aflame-in-mexico.php

Time for Latin America to Reconsider Prohibition (Opinion)

Location: 
Erika De La Garza, program director of the Latin American Initiative at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice, and William Martin, the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Senior Fellow in Religion and Public Policy at the Baker Institute, opine on the general failures of drug prohibition and what direction Latin America should go.
Publication/Source: 
The Houston Chronicle (TX)
URL: 
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/7280128.html

Just Say Now: Tell Us What You Think

We lost on Tuesday, but we're
determined to celebrate next time.
And we can't do it without you.

 Tell us what you think: how did we do, and where do we go from here to legalize marijuana?

Dear friends,

Prop 19 was defeated at the polls, 54% to 46%. Medical marijuana initiatives in Oregon and South Dakota lost as well, with votes still being counted in Arizona.

It’s fine to say “we’ll do better next time,” but if “next time” is just more of the same, we’re destined to repeat the same mistakes and suffer the same outcome. And when people are putting their hearts and their money and their time toward ending prohibition, that’s just not good enough.

If we learned one thing during this election, it’s that the marijuana reform movement needs to embrace the grassroots, to stop preaching, and to start listening. The top-down strategy of the marijuana reform movement up until now has failed, and must not be repeated.

So we want to hear from you. We want to know how we did in this election, and where you think the marijuana reform movement should go. Can you tell us what you think?

Tell us what you think: how did we do, and what can we do better next time? Click here to let us know.

http://action.firedoglake.com/justsaynowsurvey

We promise to read every word you write, and to report back on what we hear. Because one thing we know for sure: we can’t do this without you.

Your efforts to help Prop 19 and other initiatives were incredible, and unmatched. The Just Say Now campaign was launched less than 90 days before the election, and accomplished some amazing things during that time:

  • You made more than 50,000 calls to California voters, and thousands more to the other states. 
  • With your support, we built new sites for two campaigns, and rescued Prop 19’s site after it crashed on Election Day.
  • We transformed the marijuana debate, and have shown that it’s possible to run real, bottom-up campaign to legalize marijuana.

The successes of the Just Say Now campaign were your successes.

But we can do better. We want to do better. We want to be worthy of working with you to build a movement that finally brings about an end to marijuana prohibition in this country once and for all. And we never want to write another one of those “well, we fought the good fight” letters again.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the time and energy you put into this election. But next time around, we determined to be celebrating the day after.

Take our survey and share your thoughts on this election and the future of the marijuana reform movement. Click here:

http://action.firedoglake.com/justsaynowsurvey

Thank you for everything you did for Prop 19 and other marijuana initiatives, and for taking the time to let us know how we can do better next time.

Best,

Michael
JustSayNow.com

Location: 
CA
United States

We'll Be Back, Prop 19 Proponents and Allies Vow in Press Conference [FEATURE]

According to final numbers from the California secretary of state, Proposition 19 picked up more than 3.4 million votes even as it lost 46.1% to 53.9%. At a teleconference Wednesday, Prop 19 backers were declaring victory even as they acknowledged they hadn't gone over the top this year. And they announced that they weren't going away.

Dale Jones speaks with reporters Tuesday night
"We won," said former Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray. "The implementation of Prop 19 will be delayed, but the ultimate outcome is not in doubt. I'm encouraged that the end is in sight. Let's get at it!" he declared.

"The l-word has become acceptable," said former LAPD Deputy Chief Steve Downing. "You saw and heard a public debate the likes of which has never been heard in California or the nation. Change requires both compassion and enlightened self interest. The campaign has a good measure of both. Cannabis prohibition is an unjust law, it does more harm than good, and we have finally debunked prohibitionist scare tactics to the point all they had left was to attack the mechanics of the initiative itself," Downing said.

The initiative was attacked by opponents on the right as poorly written and leading to "chaos" because it allowed cities and counties to decide whether to permit, tax, and regulate marijuana in their jurisdictions. It was also attacked within the marijuana movement itself for a number of reasons, though most drug policy reformers regarded the reasons as spurious or reflecting self interest by persons in the medical marijuana trade.

"We have a path forward to make this happen and we will continue this coalition," said Dale Sky Jones, spokesperson for Yes on 19. "I'm very excited about the results from Prop 19. We have a tremendous electorate behind us. This is a matter of not if but when, and we are looking forward to working with state officials to craft new language. We want to bring the opposition to the table," she said. "We are looking for their plan, and we will hold them accountable."

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) played a prominent role in the Prop 19 campaign, and former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper was on the teleconference to assure listeners that LEAP will continue to work with Prop 19 proponents in the future.

Election Night proponents gathering, Oakland
"Police are on the front line of the war on cannabis and are paying a large price in terms of strained police-community relations," he said. "I will encourage them and politicians to say out loud what they have been whispering, that it is time to end marijuana prohibition. They know that the drug war has failed and that cannabis prohibition in particular is a costly absurdity. I will encourage them to move forward from whispered support to full-throated support for ending this prohibition," Stamper vowed.

"I was among those who tried to discourage Richard Lee a year and a half ago from going forward in 2010," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, whose political action committee raised more than a million dollars for the campaign. "But he was right. Even if this did not prevail on Election Day, the transformation of the public dialogue nationally and internationally has been stupendous. It has provided an opportunity for leaders in Latin America to say we need a discussion. There has been a transformation in the public dialogue and media coverage unlike anything before. Prop 19 got more votes than Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina. This is a major, major victory," he declared.

It is on to 2012, said Nadelmann. Marijuana legalization initiatives could be on the ballot in up to five states, he said.

"California looks good in 2012, and so do Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada," Nadelmann prognosticated. "We will go forward where more than 50% of the population support it. The defeat at the polls was a mere bump in the road compared to the positive discussion and the opening up of the debate on marijuana."

Separately, California NORML, which endorsed Prop 19, agreed that legalization is just a matter of time, but that obstacles remain. "It's not a question of whether marijuana will be legalized, but when and how," said CANORML coordinator Dale Gieringer.  "The Prop 19 campaign deserves credit for putting legalization on the map, and for attracting important new allies to the movement.  This campaign has shown there is an emerging majority for legalization in California.  However, it remains to be seen whether an initiative can be written that could attract majority support given the obstacles of federal opposition."

If the California legislature fails to act, marijuana legalization will be back on the ballot, most likely in 2012. Proponents are already working on crafting new language based on the election results, and there are plenty of ideas out there. At least four initiative proposals were floated for this year's election. Now, it's a matter of uniting the movement for the best language possible and crafting language that blunts the opposition's most effective messages.

Oakland, CA
United States

No Marijuana Legalization in California This Year

California's Proposition 19, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative, has been defeated. A little over two hours after the polls closed at 8 pm Pacific Time, the measure is trailing 44% to 56% with 25% of the votes counted, but even the campaign is conceding the loss.

As the polls closed, Oaksterdam waited
"We appreciate the tremendous victory in pushing this issue forward," said Dale Jones, Yes on 19 spokesperson. "We've taken this further than ever before. It's just a matter of taking the next step forward," she told the crowd inside Oaksterdam University, with the video also being projected onto the university's great wall for a crowd of hundreds outside. "We made this happen. This the debate heard 'round the world," she said.

"We are going to keep fighting," Richard Lee said. "We made big breakthroughs with this campaign, with all the allies we've gotten on board," before thanking those arrayed on the stage behind him, including Dan Rush of the UFCW, LEAP, the Drug Policy Alliance's Steve Gutwillig and Ethan Nadelmann, East Bay activist couple Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris, NORML's Allen St. Pierre, a pair of phone bank volunteers, campaign figures Jeff and Dale Jones, and even his mom and dad.

"We have a coalition moving forward, you have not seen the last of the group that brought you Prop 19," Jones said.

"We are going to stay here and keep building," said Rush. "We are going to continue this fight together and across the nation. Next time we're going to take Colorado and Michigan. We're going to keep riding this train.

"This is a watershed moment in a very long struggle to end the decades-long failure of marijuana prohibition in this country," said DPA's Steve Gutwillig. "Tonight was an enormous step in placing this movement in the mainstream of American politics. That's what happened tonight."

Gutwillig vowed that two to five legalization initiatives will be on the ballot in 2012. "Marijuana prohibition is going down," he said.

Maybe in 2012.

CA
United States

Statement from Richard Lee, Prop 19 Proponent

OAKLAND, CA -- In response to the voting results on Proposition 19, the California ballot measure to control and tax marijuana, Prop. 19 proponent Richard Lee released the following statement:

"The fact that millions of Californians voted to legalize marijuana is a tremendous victory. We have broken the glass ceiling. Prop. 19 has changed the terms of the debate. And that was a major strategic goal.

"Over the course of the last year, it has become clear that the legalization of marijuana is no longer a question of if but a question of when. Because of this campaign, millions now understand it's time to develop an exit strategy for the failed war on marijuana. Across the state our opponents, including many newspaper editorial boards that failed to properly understand Prop. 19, repeatedly stated that their quibbles were not with legalization in general. When we come back with a new initiative in 2012, there will be a seat at the table for all of these new stakeholders. And we will be coming back, stronger than ever.

"With limited resources this time around we were able to build an enormously powerful coalition of cops and moms, law professors and civil rights leaders, liberals and libertarians, conservatives and unions; all hungry for change. For the first time we were able to unite in favor of legalization. Groups like the National Black Police Association, the National Latino Officers Association, the California Council of Churches IMAPCT, California NAACP, SEIU of California, United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council, members of the U.S. Congress, local Democratic party committees, state legislators and many, many individual law enforcers, faith leaders, civil rights activists, students, professors of law and business leaders said it's time for a new beginning. This coalition will only continue to grow in size and strength as we prepare for 2012.

"Even the establishment was divided. While Senator Dianne Feinstein lent her name to the opposition, others, realizing that legalization is on its way, got in front of the message. When Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB 1449, the bill reducing marijuana offenses to an infraction, a few weeks ago, it was a clear concession to the power of the legalization movement and a recognition of the obvious failure of our marijuana laws. This singular change in law, brought about by the momentum of our campaign, will protect tens of thousands of Californians from arrest each and every year. It will save California taxpayers money, and it will make our streets safer. But it's only a start, and there's much more work to be done.

"And the American public will help bring about this change. A Gallup poll released just a few days ago found record support for legalization across the country, with 46 percent saying they think marijuana use 'should be made legal.' That's a bigger result than Gallup has ever recorded in its 40-year history asking this question.

"The issue is generational. Fully 70 percent of 18-29 year-olds are in favor of legalization. And, many of the biggest contributors to the campaign were younger and based in Silicon Valley, representing a changing of the guard of political influence and leadership. With the help of our coalition, many of these new leaders are going to bring about the change that is now inevitable. Inspired by the momentum we've generated with Prop 19 here in California, we're beginning to see other states gearing up for legalization efforts, both via ballot initiative in states like Washington, Nevada and Colorado, and in the state legislature in places like Rhode Island.

"And so, while we didn't bring in enough votes tonight to pass Prop. 19, we know that we have achieved an enormous moral victory, and that there are millions of people across the country who are prepared to help finish the job they started here today when we come back to the polls stronger than ever in 2012."

Location: 
Oakland, CA
United States

Prop 19 at 56%-44% with 10% of Precincts Reporting

Update: statement from Richard Lee, Prop 19 Proponent

With 10% of precincts reporting, Prop 19 is down 56%-44%. The LA Times has called the election against the initiative based on exit polls, saying the initiative won the youth vote and the Bay Area, but lost elsewhere.

I'm going to wait for more precincts to report before making it official from our end. Assuming the exit polls and early precinct returns are on target, though, I have to say that 44% for a legalization initiative, during a big conservative turnout year, is really not bad. After all, it's the first time that voters in California have gotten a chance to consider this issue. I stand by by my assessment of the Prop 19 effort as a big success that has advanced the issue.

More info to follow as we get it.

Arizona Down Slightly, But Too Soon to Fret

Arizona's medical marijuana initiative is down slightly, 50.5%-49.5%, but with only 15% of precincts reporting. I'm still predicting victory in Arizona, but we'll see.

Update: Please see a more complete analysis we published on Wednesday, which includes an action alert for Arizonans.

Prop 19 Election Night Update

I wrote this for another post, but people seem to be clicking on this one, so I'm reprinting and updating here.

With 17% of precincts reporting, Prop 19 is down 56%-44%. The LA Times has called the election against the initiative based on exit polls, saying the initiative won the youth vote and the Bay Area, but lost elsewhere.

I'm going to wait for more precincts to report before making it official from our end. Assuming the exit polls and early precinct returns are on target, though, I have to say that 44% for a legalization initiative, during a big conservative turnout year, is really not bad. After all, it's the first time that voters in California have gotten a chance to consider this issue. I stand by by my assessment of the Prop 19 effort as a big success that has advanced the issue.

More info to follow as we get it.

Update: statement from Richard Lee, Prop 19 Proponent

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