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Statement from Richard Lee, Prop 19 Proponent

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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."

Oakland, CA
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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i smell 2012 victory

its to bad this didn't pass. but in 2012 i am sure we can get people to vote for a better state controlled initiative. its to bad that my tax money from my hard earned pay check will continue to go towards a hopeless war and police enforcement of a victimless crime. prop 19 it may of lost by 10 points but its only only 400 thousand votes which in a state of 35 million isn't a lot. If we start today we can get those extra votes to push it into the yes side.  

You screwed up, Cali

Way to go Cali stoners… you failed to show up, you failed to vote, and you let a golden opportunity slide right through your hands. Shame on you! Now another 800,000 people a year will get arrested and convicted, marked forever as felonious drug abusers, they will lead compromised lives as they won’t get the same opportunities in life as everyone else. California, you should be ashamed for not passing Prop 19. Excuse me for not being jubilant about the “inevitable” legalization of marijuana… here was your chance, and you BLEW IT! It’s not just about California, it’s about the rest of the country too. This is the first significant setback in marijuana policy after two years of great progress. Now the Prohibitionists can claim victory and momentum. Thanks again, California. For nothing but continued oppression.
Brinna's picture

Actually, we have broken the "Grass" Ceiling.

And there will be no easy way to put it back together (thank the Goddess).

And thank you, Richard Lee. Your vision and willingness to put yourself and your resources squarely behind this issue shifted the rock, and we now see our way out of the cave.

Revise and resubmit

"our opponents ... stated that their quibbles were not with legalization in general."

Absolutely. I favor legalization but voted against prop 19 because of its flaws - specifically section 11304(c). Please bring us a better written proposition.

borden's picture

What's your specific problem

What's your specific problem with section 11304(c)?

"No person shall be punished, fined, discriminated against, or be denied any right or privilege for lawfully engaging in any conduct permitted by this act or authorized pursuant to Section 11301. Provided, however, that the existing right of an employer to address consumption that actually impairs job performance by an employee shall not be affected."

Iowagreen's picture

The Front Lines

I hope to be a resident of the great state of California by then, so I can personally help the fight for common sense liberty.

Prop. 19

Cut the crap! After all the effort, all the professional support for passage of Prop. 19, the election wasn't even close. Who in the hell are the people who voted against this bill? I am almost 70--the demographic that is supposed to be most supportive of prohibition--but I never talk to anyone who does not favor some form of marijuana legalization--never! If this election was actually fair, then I guess we'd better give up. We're a long way from winning this battle.

P.S. I'm a retired cop.

I'm not a cop, but

I am a 66 yo female and I agree with you.  All my friends of all age groups support full legalization, also my parents' generation relatives who are still with us do so, as well, so this is NOT the older generations stopping the movement.  I tend to think there is some election rigging going on, nothing else makes sense in light of the obvious public support in every state that puts one of these legalization measures in the queue.

 Well. The CA MMJ Cartel


Well. The CA MMJ Cartel didn't want their bottom line getting hurt, & it didn't. Now we have to take that away.Time to find a lawyer and Class Action ALL CA Dispensaries under Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Would that work? IDK. Maybe. If they don't get prohibition based prices, then there won't be ANY reason for that. Right? Just a thought.

scams and cons

Thank you Richard Lee and everyone else that helped. I was so looking forward to the great new distibution network being setup across the country and the great cali green making its way to florida. Finally we wound get some great bud vs the crappy Mexican dirt weed we get now. 35$ 1/4 . 70$ a week shipped right to a mexican drug lord. I cant do it anymore. I cant justify sending my money and not being sure its not going to mexican drug killers. I have to quit. Thanks

its sad that the greed stepped up . I wonder if the gang bangers were telling people to vote no. If its legal say good by to the weed money. So the sellers are all saying vote no!

Im so pissed I think ill fire up a bowl of what can only be some of the best weed I have actually had in over a year. beautiful green bud, kick your ass on one hit style. ofc its 100$ 1/4 

sorry no tax money on that uncle sam, 

ps forgive me spelling, i failed in class BEFORE I started smoken weed  lol

What we have here is a failure to communicate

My take on what happened is that the "Legalization" folks did very little, if any mainstream media advertising. For example, I saw nothing in the local paper, the San Diego Union Tribune except in the editorial page and most of those were "Anti 19". I saw or heard no other advertising on TV, radio or other print mediums. I saw more proponents on Craigslist than anywhere else. Is that an effective campaign? Where did all the money that I and others contributed go?

I am and "insider" and belong to several other organizations besides StDW, such as MPP, Norml, ASA, LEAP and others and I am an advocate for legalization for many years and all of these groups did was keep asking for more money time and time again. Some even asking AFTER the election! To say I am disappointed would be and understatement and I will be very reluctant to send money to any group that basically "preaches to the choir" as a strategy for legalization.

I already "get it", it's the others that needed to be reached. What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Ralph Wylie

San Diego, Ca.

borden's picture

too much money needed


Carrying out the kind of campaign you've described in California costs about $10 million. The campaign started with about one and a half million, much of spent to gather signatures, then another one or two million came in toward the end. There was some TV and radio advertising, mostly toward the end, but for the most part there was just not the money to do that.

I for one don't think the initiative campaign spent a lot of time preaching to the choir, other than to try to fire people up to volunteer. The media coverage around Prop 19 was extraordinary, and in a truly historic development there were mainstream civil rights groups and unions in the state endorsing legalization. In some cases entire reports making the case that prohibition violates civil rights were authored in order to secure these endorsements.

Given that this was a more conservative year in terms of voter turnout -- tens of millions of Obama voters did not even show up to the polls this year -- I'm encouraged at how close Prop 19 got. It's quite possible that it would have won if this were 2012. Given what was going on this year, I'm dubious that more advertising would have succeeded this time around. Neither were the top funders in the movement; that's why the $10 million never came through.

Let us be encouraged by what happened this month, not discouraged.

The smart way to approach the subject

numbers never lie and are hard to be proven wrong

what are the opposing team saying: "it is an illegal drug" alcohol was illegal and all what it did is crime and organized mobs. when it got legalized it reduced crime and took away the mobs with it. 

a good research showing 

1- the economic gain for the state from a good legalization law (same but better than the law on alcohol)

2- medical evidence comparing alcohol addiction to marijuana addiction ( it is way less addictive than alcohol)

3- job creation, tax revenues, more spaces in prison for real criminals

4- tax payers money savings

5- same police force number (we don't want them to loose there jobs) but we want them to go catch real criminals

this study have success written all over it. 

i have read most of the articles in the news papers. 

the campaigners did a great job. if they believe that in doing the same this will get it legalized they are pretty mistaken.

what this campaign showed is all the people against it. which should be the first this to do in the next campaign. target the opposing team. gathering all there worries and solve each one of them. most of them are ignorant and they follow one person who is for them more aware. this is where it should start. peaceful, smart approach based on numbers and logic. offering a win tunnel where everyone can meet and profit.

Parents afraid of there kids for getting addicted should be more concerned about alcohol more damaging to the brain and more addictive and dangerous than marijuana ( a high person will never participate in a bar fight, he is the most peaceful person ever in a bar. ) 

cigarettes are more damaging that marijuana ....(same worried parents)

tax payers money. people are worried about how much of tax payers money will be needed. ZERO

the new law will use part of the tax on the marijuana (similar to alcohol and cigarettes ) to fun rehab centers and awareness campaigns. don't get me wrong but even marijuana consumers are not totally informed.



understand the worries of your opponent and work on a law that satisfy everyone. it is our state and their state together we can give a example to the rest of the world and bring our deficit down.

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