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

Submitted by Phillip Smith on
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

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.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Educated Pothead (not verified)

I guess all that weed has damaged your brains to the point you cannot recall 7th grade Civics.

420 is on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.  As long as it remains there, it doesn't matter what nitwits like you put up for initiatives nor does the outcome - it CANNOT be legal in the USA.

You tards tried to change the law in Sacramento, meaning you were off the mark by 2,323 miles.  The law must be changed in Washington D.C., otherwise your only alternative is to get California to secede from the union.

You can't possibly be this stupid, why are you going out of your way to look like complete morons?

Wed, 11/03/2010 - 8:23pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Educated Pothead (not verified)

Uh, there are thousands of dispensaries in California, serving hundreds of thousands of people. How is that possible, if it's as simple as you say? The same will be the case when it's state legalization, not just medical marijuana.
Thu, 11/04/2010 - 2:18am Permalink
JohnB70 (not verified)

In reply to by Educated Pothead (not verified)

A lot of people dont even believe the commerce clause gives the federal government the right to control what I put in my body.  Let me ask you a question: does it give them the authority to decide the medical benefits/insurance that take care of your body?  Do you also think the healthcare legislation is unconstitutional?  Well its constitutionality (or lack thereof) is pretty on  much the same grounds and premise as the controlled substances act.

Right.  Screw the controlled substances act of 1970.  The government just needs put back in their place, and theyve definitely got some hard lessons coming their way, on a lot of fronts.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 1:38pm Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

In reply to by Educated Pothead (not verified)

It was the People through their states that created the federal government, the federal government is our servant not our master and the states, Constitutionally, have more powers than the federal government (whose powers are limited to those which are enumerated).  

Your civics education was seriously lacking, as is true of government controlled education across this whole country.  It was the states which created alcohol prohibition and the federal government followed, then it was the states which nullified prohibition of alcohol and the federal government was forced to follow suit.  

Via the 10th Amendment voters in the various states have the power to nullify the federal government's prohibition of certain drugs by forcing their legislatures to pass nullification laws or by passing laws, via voters' initiative or referendum, legalizing those drugs within the borders of their states, when a third of the states have done that, the federal government will have no choice but to end the federal war on drug(user)s.

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 3:02am Permalink
Osbie Feel (not verified)

In reply to by Educated Pothead (not verified)

How can you be so ignorant? Cannabis does not have a LD50, therefore the schedule 1 classification is bogus. Once people realize that the harm factor of keeping Marijuana illegal is far more hazardous than any potential health risks it will be all over. There simply is no justification for keeping this very useful substance illegal, it's just a waste of taxpayer money all around.

Sat, 11/06/2010 - 9:03pm Permalink
TrebleBass (not verified)

"California looks good in 2012, and so do Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada"

you can add Massachusetts, and possibly more

Wed, 11/03/2010 - 9:38pm Permalink
Kevin Kneeland (not verified)

In reply to by TrebleBass (not verified)

Maine Vocals is collecting signatures to put legalization on the ballot for 2012. In the town I live in (small town) I collected signatures at the polls. Roughly 25% signed the peoples initiative. If the rest of the state has that kind of results it should be on the ballot 2012. To my surprise seniors were more willing to sign the initiative in my town.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 1:39pm Permalink
newageblues (not verified)

Everything you say applies just as well to medicinal marijuana, which wouldn't exist in 14 states if you were right. Washington is going to be even less friendly to us after this election, the tea parties are cool with this example of Big Government, Washington is about the last place to look to for positive change in the drug war.

Why are you going out of your way to be obnoxious anyway? 

Wed, 11/03/2010 - 10:03pm Permalink

Prop 19 got the crowd together, now let's finish the job. If we let the momentum of this election pass it will be a much greater loss than the loss at the polls. We need to initiate a federal action immediately, in response to attacks being made on the Constitution in the name of the failed "drug war." A new focus is needed by which to gage the progress of our advance toward the end of Cannabis prohibition.

The most extreme example of a "drug war" crime exists in the anti-Constitutional imprisonment of Reverend Roger Christie. Roger has been in federal prison in Honolulu since July 8th, denied bail four times; and had his trial postponed until April 2011. Regardless of what one may think about Cannabis, this is clearly a violation of due process that the Constitution was written specifically to prevent: No trial -- no prison.

Prohibition will end as soon as each and every person who wanted Prop 19 to pass comes to understand the true critical value of Cannabis: Cannabis isn't illegal, it's essential, for three very specific reasons.  Food, fuel, climate change.

 The shortcomings of Prop 19 began with its limited scope, limited provisions and confusing bureaucratic implications. There's a lot more to Cannabis than just getting high. Prop 19 didn't deal with any of them.


If objectively, comprehensively considered, Cannabis is the most nutritious, useful, ecologically significant, environmentally healing, safely therapeutic, agronomically beneficial, potentially abundant agricultural resource on Earth. Being unique and essential, it is beyond the rightful jurisdiction of any court. A state proposition doesn't cover that. A Constitutional Amendment does. The First Amendment protect our freedom to farm "every herb bearing seed." We merely need to reclaim our god-given right to it.


To channel the awareness, human resources and network of communication that's been established by Prop 19 will amplify the effect of the original effort. Don't let up. Stay in touch with the process of change that's still moving forward.


Cannabis prohibition is over as soon as people understand the legal purchase in making the distinction between 'herbs' and 'drugs.' Drugs don't make seeds. Herbs do. Watch these to understand more,


An Inconvenient Solution



The REAL Question



then get on board the peace train. And be grateful. Prop 19 would have resulted in an expensive legal/media circus I'm glad Prop 19 didn't pass for a lot of reasons. I know for a fact that a lot of the people who voted it down still want legalization, like myself, we just don't want to sell out the plant to the government and the pot clubs.


Don't worry about "lost revenues" from there not being a tax on pot. The tax on Cannabis has always been a direct grower-community tax. No bureaucracy required. People who make money growing marijuana, inevitably, give back to the community by spending more money in town. It's very efficient. Once industrial hemp is added back into the agricultural rotations, the true value of Cannabis and organic agriculture will be operational for conversion to Gaiatherapeutic industries.


Time is the limiting factor in the equation of survival. Every planting season that passes, and every seed harvest that we miss is irretrievable, lost forever.


If you want Cannabis freedom and peace on Earth, participate at Roger Christie's cause website on Facebook


Thu, 11/04/2010 - 1:33am Permalink
Improve the Meausre (not verified)

As someone who voted yes, and sincerely hoped for passage, I nonetheless listened to the opposition when they spoke. After you sort out the BS by LA Sheriff Baca and the oft repeated lies about being a gateway drug, a couple of issues remain.

Private companies, though not receiving federal or state tax dollars, will probably need a way to continue to discriminate against users, otherwise they'll go to court to protect their "rights", and probably win. Like driving, a know, proven sobriety test needs to be developed and available.

Funding for the testing and science to provide an accurate roadside intoxication test or THC level needs to be done. We have to address the impairment issue head on, it remains the number one fear for opponents. Somehow, a decreasing scale, along a time line, must separate someone who just toked five minutes earlier from someone who waited four or five hours before getting behind the wheel. Part of the taxes withheld should be dedicated to the research to develop this sobriety test. It has to be done.


Due to funding, I saw no good TV ads that called out the Mexican Cartels for their invasion of our parks and forests, and the environmental damage they do there, in addition to the guns their growers are packing. It's a sensitive issue, but we need to identify our enemies.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 1:18pm Permalink
Carl Darby (not verified)

In reply to by Improve the Meausre (not verified)

Among experienced users there is not a significant measure of impairment. This is a troubling and extremely inconvenient fact for marijuana prohibitionists.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 5:08pm Permalink
Improve the Measure (not verified)

In reply to by Carl Darby (not verified)

I'm not so sure regarding your allegation regarding impairment, Carl. Now, offhand, I'd say a stoned driver has a heightened level of awareness, ergo the trend towards slowing down the vehicle vs. speeding.

However, as everyone knows, the newer strains have significantly higher levels of THC. Also, young people get licenses as early as the age of 16. Thus, testing for impairment, a way to measure it, will be important before legalization can become a fixture across the land. Believe me, the fed will also withhold federal highway funds as well, as another stick to wield against legalization. I support legalization for home recreational use, but we need to address these matters before the biased public at large will be convinced; and many of the opponents I spoke with brought up the driving issue. We've got to get a handle on it.

Legalization proponents will have to address and overcome the oppositions points, one by one.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 7:01pm Permalink
Michael Perrone (not verified)

If you look at the graphs of polls and interject a line at the inflection point where we lost votes, it was right after Eric Holder severely scolded and rebuked us for being on the path to pass it.


There's no doubt in my mind, at least 10% of our support kowtowed to the vehemece of the US AG.


Therefore the way forward should be not one, but three ballot initiatives.

1) Repeals State prohibition laws for all adults, but has no regulatory framework at all-- makes enforcement of prohibition an entirely a Federal matter.

2) Makes no new law but sends a message from the voters to the Federal government: Repeal prohibition, reschedule cannabis and institute regulation. Instruct the governor and AG of California to personally deliver a well crafted message to the House, Senate, President, AG and DEA.

3) Amnesty law. Wipe the criminal records of all nonviolent cannabis offenders. Free the approximate 2000 people currently incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis violations (cultivators, holders of large quantities, etc). Adds a constitutional amendment that directs the legislature to use science over politics and ideology in the formation of drug law.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 1:49pm Permalink
Michael Nielsen (not verified)

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Science is the language of Publius. It is science that can lift the fog of war caused by 70 years of Reefer Madness. As the founders detailed the workings of the US Constitution, piece-by-piece and Article-by-Article, we have given the same care and effort to describing the cannabis plant and the role of cannabinoids in our culture. We also found that cannabinoids shared one other strong characteristic from the founding period: the similarity is found in the famous phrase summing up the basic rights of free people — Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is no secret that many people think that there is a life-giving quality to cannabis use. That is where we began — the anecdotal and lived cannabinoid experience. Since the 1970s, cannabis use has been defined by practice — some combination of the medical/patient model and the recreational/liberty model. What we are describing is something new — the idea that cannabinoids are fundamental to life. The cannabis war will no longer be about use and ideology — about who is sick enough or free enough or responsible enough. What is new today is the science of cannabinoids — and you'll find it more than compelling — some even mind-blowing.

The days of dominant Cheech and Chong images and spaced-out tokesters are behind us. Clearer perceptions about cannabis are emerging. Someone like Montel Williams is the new face of the cannabis patient — a former Marine and successful talk show host who fights Multiple Sclerosis and maintains his health and happiness through the use of cannabinoids. Or even beyond any medical perception, someone like Rick Steves — a successful writer and host of travel shows on television and radio. Or even beyond celebrity — perhaps someone like you?

The days of dominant Cheech and Chong images and spaced-out tokesters are behind us. Clearer perceptions about cannabis are emerging. Someone like Montel Williams is the new face of the cannabis patient — a former Marine and successful talk show host who fights Multiple Sclerosis and maintains his health and happiness through the use of cannabinoids. Or even beyond any medical perception, someone like Rick Steves — a successful writer and host of travel shows on television and radio. Or even beyond celebrity — perhaps someone like you?

Read and learn about cannabinoids and why this plant is essential to life - The opponents cant beat the documented science there is out there for its need:

The Cannabis Papers
   - a citizen's guide to cannabinoids
Keep smiling
Thu, 11/04/2010 - 1:55pm Permalink
Ned (not verified)

The failure of 19 allows for a different approach and one that would be preferable anyway. One problem with the initiative avenue is that it can't really adequately establish a fully detailed regulatory scheme on its own.

Prop 19 got more yes votes than Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina or Steve Cooley got. These kinds of numbers and the general direction of the trend could maybe be enough to do this legislatively. There is no need to wait for 2012 for that. It would be better anyway. 

To Michael Perrone, three initiatives is a tall order. The moves you describe would better be done by the legislature. Even though the legislature has been useless for decades on this, it may be possible to get them to begin something now. Understandably activists gave up on that a long time ago, but I think it's worth reexamining. 

It makes sense to repeal the cannabis H&S codes, and modify the medical ones so they make sense after the criminal ones are repealed. Amnesty is only fair and as a legislative matter, technically easy, even if politically possibly difficult.

I don't think it is possible to open up a legal vacuum, with no law at all. To many parties would freak out. The thing for the legislature to do would be to direct the ABC and FTB to draw up a regulation model that draws from the alcohol one. NOT perfect but at least it's conceivable compared to some other suggestions.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 4:15pm Permalink
newageblues (not verified)

Why haven't they done it in the last 70 years? I think it's because they would have to directly compare driving impairment (or physical impairment in general) from alcohol and driving impairment from cannabis, and the result would be most unflattering to alcohol supremacism, particularly in the case of experienced cannabis users. Novice users usually don't drive or drive extremely carefully, so their behavior lends no support to alcohol supremacists either. And I suspect even novice users would have no trouble passing the field test given for suspected drunk driving (walk in a straight line, recite the alphabet etc).

Yes the government needs to develop a test for cannabis impairment, and I find their failure to do so suspicious as hell.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 8:52pm Permalink
newageblues (not verified)

especially since old man Brown would presumably veto it. There is their desperate need for money, and the threat that if they don't legalize it on their terms, the next referendum will do it on its own terms, but I suspect this is going to happen the same way legal medicinal marijuana happened, led by voters in referendums.

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 9:09pm Permalink
John Marks (not verified)

To Jim Gray, Norm Stamper, Ethan Nadelmann, Dale Gieringer and all you other stalwarts:

Well done!

"In Defeat - Defiance!"

Good luck in 2012.

John Marks

Fri, 11/05/2010 - 6:57am Permalink
Annapurna1 (not verified) wont...the legalization debate died with the democratic house majority...a series of draconian anti-drug bills..which have languished in house committees for years.. will now sail through congress...the democratic senate..which must defend 23 seats in 2012..wont dare to oppose them either.. lest they be tagged as "soft on drugs"...

Mon, 11/08/2010 - 12:23am Permalink
sicntired (not verified)

The Obama administration has made it very clear they are NOT in favor of the legalisation of cannabis.Eric Holder said if prop 19 passed the feds would be all over California like Eliot Ness and the alcohol prohibition boys.Not the most compromising position and really a declaration of war on the state of California.It will be interesting to see what state does the deed first and just how heavy the feds will come down on the people of that State after the act is in force.It reminds me of our position here in Vansterdam with a federal government that is rabidly anti marijuana.The fellow(forgive my addled brain)from Nova Scotia who won the citisen of the year award in Amsterdam,was making oil from high grade cannabis and had quite a clientele who were being helped with all kinds of symptoms including cancer and terrible pain.Rick Simpson I think his name is.He had a warrant served on him while he was out of the country.Last I heard he was a fugitive in Europe.Marc Emery is on a tour of the Amerikan prison system,last I heard.The Feds are no longer using the law but have taken to manipulating and usurping it for their own purposes.This is obviously something that the Canadian,Amerikan and Mexican governments have agreed to do.Just ask the head of the UN gang.It took all three governments,an airline and customs in all three countries to arrange his arrest in Texas.He was on a one way flight to Mexico.I make no bones about the fact that he was probably a bad guy with blood on his hands but I am equally sure that the governments of Canada where he lived and Mexico,where he was going had no criminal charges that he could be charged with.The US doesn't seem to have the same kind of need for evidence as the other two countries.Anyway,If some state,and lets hope one does soon.Legalises cannabis,it will be interesting to see how many people line up behind the decision.It will mean a great deal for people who are in favor of the proposition,to let the feds know how they feel.It will be a lot harder to violate State law if they know that We the People are behind the legalisation of cannabis.

Mon, 11/08/2010 - 5:21am Permalink
darkcycle (not verified)

Just as alcohol prohibition was repealed in several States before the constitution was again amended to allow legal booze, it will be the States who will take the lead, not the glacially slow Federal government. The Controlled substances act is only a law, and can be changed far easier than the U.S. Constitution. Us potheads know our history, and between bong hits we can organize and fund raise rings around the prohibitionists. And we also happen to be right. Prohibition will fall, and soon. Washington State in 2011. Go to to volunteer and to contribute. Silence the Trolls.

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 6:11pm Permalink
david7134 (not verified)

I don't know what is going on in this country, but it seems that freedom is a thing of the past. This is readily demonstrated in our drug laws. Things are considerably worse than even a few years ago. Recently my wife had big time surgery. She was given 20 pain pills for her recovery. We live in Louisiana and the doctors are afraid of our drug enforcement people, so they give only a small amount of medication. Now the issue here is not that she would become addicted, but that she may have pills left over and would "redistribute" them. I see pain physician for a chronic, disabling condition, she has been told that she must not give pain drugs for prolonged periods. Even though she is closely monitoring the patient and doing all the right things. Somehow they feel that a condition that gets worse over a period of years is supposed to get better and you need less medication.

In addition, I am a physician. Most of my peers feel that the drug laws are stupid and need to be eliminated. Note, I did not say modified. They would prefer that we dispense with the concept of prescriptions and allow people to obtain what they desire. This is what is called a free society. One other thing they do in Louisiana is to track all your drug purchases and make that available online. This in a state that is on the bottom of every evaluation you can think of.

I do yearn for the revolution that is coming and wish it would get started.

Wed, 11/10/2010 - 5:39pm Permalink

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