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

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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.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Dodged a bullet

I for one think that Prop 19 served it's purpose by raising awareness and strengthening future initiatives, but that if it fails Cali legalization supporters dodged a bullet.  I know I'm going to be demonized for that comment, but I think that a lot of people have not heard the full argument against Prop 19 that was put forth by the pro-pot community.  Before you start attacking, read this:


I was behind Prop 19 all the way until I read this and did some serious investigation into the movement for the alternate initiative that is proposed for the 2012 ballot.  It is here:


I had read the full text of Prop 19 and was all for it.  I know, you don't want to hear this.  Neither did I.  I had to stop reading the argument against it at first because I was pissed.  But if you calmly read the information you will realize that Cali really did dodge a bullet. 

As a disclaimer I would just like to say that I am an Ohio resident and had no direct investment in the outcome, but as a supporter I have been following the issue for a long time and I was pulling for 19 as much as anyone else until I had all of the information.

You are not alone in your

You are not alone in your thoughts, Joe. I, too, was mislead by the initial information provided regarding Prop 19, and, like you, the more I read about it from supporters and opposers, I found that I didn't want it to pass. Things are fine just the way they are with medicinal marijuana use. The passing of Prop 215 was enough for us. Cali has it right and things should stay as they are. If you are approved by a doctor to smoke marijuana, then smoke ahead. If not, just keep it on the DL, don't be stupid, and don't get caught. ;)

The only thing that needs to change is this: law enforcement needs to STOP putting so much wasted effort into busting pot growers/smokers and start focusing on violent crimes and hard drugs (METH/coke) and leave the peaceful, happy, tokin' community alone. We are not the ones causing massive amounts of crime...the meth-heads, coke-heads and alcoholics are the ones that need to be monitored, arrested, and prosecuted for their crimes which are all too often violent and extremely devastating. Methamphetamine use is a huge issue all over this country, and is a growing issue in California. The massive amount of money and resources WASTED by law enforcement agencies cracking down on marijuana grow-ops and pot smokers needs to go towards eradicating our country of the growing meth problem.

I really think California needs a major wake up call and reality check here. POT is not the problem. Prop 19 solves nothing.  


A Californian, pot smoking, female :)

borden's picture

think again

Think again, Nic. Meth has more real dangers associated with it than marijuana does, but that doesn't mean prohibition is good. Prohibition doesn't work, and only ends up hurting the very people it is supposedly intended to help. And while there are many meth users who do very badly with it, most meth users use it in a safe and controlled way, and the number of meth addicts is tiny compared for example with the number of alcoholics.

As far as everything being fine with just medical marijuana, I'm sorry, that is just misguided. People do get caught, they are mostly minority, and leaving it at that is a seriously backwards strategy.

Just say no to marijuana elitism!


the only way for the things you said to happen it HAS to be FLAT OUT LEGAL. there is no other WAY! why would you want to keep on the ''DL''. i think you need to WAKE UP!             OPEN MIND FOR A DIFFERENT VIEW

First time for which issue?

Mr. Borden, could you clarify, "After all, it's the first time that voters in California have gotten a chance to consider this issue. " I voted for the 1972 California Marijuana Initiative (coincidentally that was also Proposition 19) which got around 33-34% of the vote in another big conservative turnout year. IMO that was more of a true legalization initiative than the current one despite not legalizing sale. By "this issue" do you mean taxation, commercial regulation, attempting to change repeal of anti-marijuana laws from a civil liberties issue to primarily a business issue or something else?

I'm not going to predict passage or failure of this year's initiative based on the information available at this time but I will state my belief the nature of this initiative cost the support of many pro-legalization voters who felt the initiative was unacceptably flawed. At first glance the initiative at 

looks good though very ambitious (as was the 1991 California Hemp Initiative). I suspect I'll be supporting that and it will be more acceptable to California voters for many reasons. I hope the 2010 Prop. 19 campaign will encourage qualification and passage of a good California legalization initiative in 2012. I also hope it's defeat or its problems if it passes will help, not hinder, the marijuana legalization initiative Sensible Washington ( will be filing in 2011.


It's a pity I-1068 wasn't on the Washington ballot this year. It could have been very informative to see how each state's initiative fared and what seemed to be the reasons.

borden's picture

1972 and 2012

Rural WA,

Sorry for seeming to leave out the 1972 initiative. I should have written "most California voters," as most of today's California voters either were not born yet or of voting age at that time, or did not live in California at that time. My elders certainly did incredible work back in the '70s, and it's not their fault that the time was not yet ripe for it to come to fruition.

Regarding your proposed explanation for yesterday's outcome, my view is that the reasons for the initiative's defeat are best determined not through our predetermined views or feelings or hunches about it, but by data derived from polling and focus groups, conversations with people who voted no or who might have voted yes but didn't show up, etc. It's undoubtedly true that there are some Californians who disliked Prop 19 for the reasons you suggest. But enough to make the difference between 46.2% and 50% + 1? People who took that point of view about the initiative are by definition people who spend time thinking about either the specifics of marijuana policy or the intricacies of ballot initiatives in general. I doubt that that's four percent of the electorate. And part of the equation is also people who would not have voted for a more open marijuana initiative, but who voted for Prop 19 because it didn't take things a hundred percent of the way. Remember, Richard and company did research before writing this thing. They based the initiative and its language partly on the results of that research. Also, the somewhat decreased support we are seeing for medical marijuana these days is undoubtedly a reaction to a perception that the trade is out of control, suggesting that control is something the voters want to see when it comes to marijuana policy.

With regard to I-1068, I have mixed feelings, as I believe Washington is a crucial state in this, and of course the efforts of all the volunteers deserve to be validated. That said, when I read the I-1068 language, my immediate reaction was that opponents would have a field day, that it walks headlong into the most politically potent attacks that law enforcement and others would want to make against it. I see cops wearing uniforms talking about how there is no regulation, anyone will be able to grow marijuana anywhere, sell it to anybody anywhere and of any age, with law enforcement's hands tied. That is not an intellectually valid argument, but it's undoubtedly the argument they'll make, and my instinct after watching the last 15 years of drug policy initiatives is that the counterarguments proponents will make about the legislature being able to provide the regulation will not resonate sufficiently in the thick of things to counteract it. In fact the opposition would probably argue (even if falsely) that the legislature's hands would be tied because of how it is written. And so my guess is that if I-1068 had made the ballot, we would have had one initiative in California fail to pass but doing respectably, and then another one in Washington failing but without gaining very respectable yes numbers -- a significantly less positive overall message than our movement is able to project today with just Prop 19. (Of course there would have been other benefits for organizing and press coverage from I-1068 as well, and I don't discount that.)

I'm not dogmatic about this, and I'm in favor of polling and research being done to determine whether the I-1068 approach of simply repealing penalties could work at the ballot. If the research says that my concerns are unfounded, or that other factors would enable it to work anyway, I'll be fully on board. (Not that SW necessarily needs me on board, but it wouldn't hurt.) The converse is that if research says the 1068 approach would not work, but another legalization approach (Prop 19's or a different one) could, I think that (along with careful analysis by the best experts in WA initiative law and other analysis) should be what guides the efforts of Sensible Washington and everyone else in the state.

Re: 1972 and 2010

Mr. Borden,

My apologies for the slowness in responding. The number and complexity of issues involved feels somewhere at the edge of overwhelming with many matters requiring very time-consuming research. I suspect I'm trying to address more issues in more depth than you intended. I'm still slogging through Prop. 19 related matters for the most part and constantly revising a draft reply which is currently notable for it's poor organization and poor wording.     I    I  

Highest Yes vote ratio


Was reading the propositions pulldown turnout data and it at least

has the highest number of yes votes to anything else that was voted upon.

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