Prop 19

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PPIC Poll: Prop 19 Behind 49% to 44%

Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in California, has lost support and is now trailing, according to poll results released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). The landline and cell phone poll of 2,002 adults surveyed between October 10 and 17 has Prop 19 losing, 49% to 44%, with 7% undecided.

The numbers for Prop 19 are down eights from PPIC's September poll, which had it winning with 52%. But they are almost the mirror image of SurveyUSA poll also released Wednesday that showed Prop 19 leading 48% to 44%.

In the new PPIC poll, the initiative lost significant support among independents (from 65% to 40%) and Latinos (63% to 42%), and among almost all demographic groups. Whites are now more likely to oppose the support Prop 19 by a thin margin, a reversal from last month.

This poll is the fifth of 15 polls taken this year to show Prop 19 trailing. Ten others had it ahead, but only four of them had it at 50% or over, and the last one to do so was last month's PPIC poll. According to the Talking Points Memo Polltracker, the average of all polls has Prop 19 leading 46.8% to 44.5%.  As of publication time, it had not been updated with Wednesday's two polls, but in terms of the poll averages, they would be a wash.

This is going to get very tense for the next 12 days.

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SurveyUSA: Prop 19 Ahead 48% to 44%

Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in California, is maintaining a narrow lead, according to poll results released Wednesday by SurveyUSA. The poll of 621 likely and actual voters (early voting started two weeks ago) was taken between Friday and Sunday and had the initiative leading 48% to 44%, with 8% undecided.

[Editor's Note: A Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday night had contrary results. It was too late for this week's Chronicle, but you can read about it here.]


Election Day not far away
The findings are roughly in line with more than a dozen other polls taken on Prop 19 this year, all but four of which have the measure leading. According to the Talking Points Memo Polltracker, the average of all polls has Prop 19 leading 46.8% to 44.5%. The polltracker, however, has not been updated with this latest SurveyUSA poll. Once it is, support will increase slightly, while opposition will decrease slightly.

SurveyUSA has done six polls on Prop 19, and they show support declining slightly from 50% in the earliest surveys. They also show opposition rising slightly. It was at 40% in July, peaked at 43% in September, then declined to 41% early this month before rising to 44% in the current poll.

With a four percent margin of error, this latest SurveyUSA poll shows a very tight race indeed. With undecideds beginning a not unexpected peeling off toward a "no" vote, voter turnout is going to be key to victory on November 2.

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Help Legalize Marijuana in CA

Call California voters today and urge them to vote "Yes" on Prop. 19.

Dear friends,

We're closer than ever to winning the fight against marijuana prohibition.

On November 2nd, Californians will vote on Proposition 19, which would legalize personal possession of marijuana for adults and allow cities and counties to regulate its sale.

Right now, polls indicate that Prop. 19 has a good chance of passing. But the fight is so close that voter turnout will make all the difference. That's why we need you to call California mail-in voters today and urge them to vote "Yes" on Prop. 19.

California has a long history of setting legal precedents that other states follow. That means that even though you live in District of Columbia, Prop. 19 is a big deal. If marijuana is legalized in California, there's a better chance it will be legalized in District of Columbia.

The battle is close, and to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition we need to make sure Californians vote.Click here to make a few calls today and bring us to victory on November 2nd!

Even if you've never called voters before, our friends at the Yes on 19 campaign created a tool that makes it easy. Just click here to sign up to their phonebank. After you do, you'll be given the number of a mail-in voter and a script that will guide you through the process.

We have a real chance at getting marijuana legalized in California. Your help today is crucial in making it happen.


Stephen Gutwillig
State Director, California
Drug Policy Action

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Los Angeles Times Hasn't Learned Anything After 14 Years of Legal Medical Marijuana

The mindless incoherence of Prop 19's opposition is really kicking into full-gear following Attorney General Eric Holder's statement that he'll continue to enforce federal law if California legalizes marijuana. LA Times is so intimidated by Holder that I can only assume they believe he possesses super powers or commands a vast army of narco-clone-soldiers capable of capturing every casual user in California:

If California voters were still under the illusion that Proposition 19  would legalize marijuana, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. sought to disabuse them of the notion last week. "We will vigorously enforce the [federal Controlled Substances Act] against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use…

If the proposition is approved, the result would be a legal morass. DEA raids would nab Californians who think they're complying with the law, only to face federal penalties.

There's no need for a battle with Washington that the state is unlikely to win.

Los Angeles dispensary map (
It's really remarkable to watch the LA Times cowering in awe of the exact same federal powers that have been proven impotent before their eyes for more than a decade during the failed federal war on medical marijuana. Where were the editors of the LA Times when the city became overrun with dispensaries during the Bush Administration? They were reporting the damn news. They ought to be the foremost experts on the practical limitations of federal drug enforcement.

How far up your ass does your head have to be stuck to actually believe California is "unlikely to win" a fight with the federal government over marijuana policy? California has been winning that battle for more than ten years. LA Times is literally suggesting that Obama and Eric Holder are more determined opponents of marijuana reform than George Bush and John Ashcroft, which has got to be some of the worst analysis of marijuana policy ever put in print. It was Eric Holder himself who issued a memo calling on federal agents to find something better to do than bother dispensaries. How could anyone be dumb enough to believe he'll now turn around and begin busting hippies for simple possession?

Amazingly, it has yet to become obvious to everyone that the reason the feds failed to shut down medical marijuana in California is because they don't have the resources to do that. There aren't enough agents to make the cases, enough courtrooms to hold the trials, or even enough sunglasses to hide their eyes, and if they couldn't control the medical marijuana situation, please explain to me how the hell they would deal with a law legalizing all adult use. I shouldn’t have to explain this. Just picture for yourself the size of California's pot-smoking population, tucked into every nook and cranny from Orange County to Arcata, and imagine the magnitude of the army it would take kill their buzz after the state stops making arrests.

If Prop 19 passes, there's nothing Holder, Obama, the DEA, or even the entire U.S. military can do to stop it. That's exactly why its opponents are willing to do anything, even rewrite history, in their desperation to confuse voters and obstruct the surging momentum of the movement for reform.

Fox News Poll: Prop 19 Marijuana Initiative in Dead Heat

California's Proposition 19 tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative is in a statistical dead heat, according to a Fox News Poll released Tuesday. The poll, taken last Friday, had the electorate split 47-46 against the measure, well within the poll's three-point margin of error.

Fox released no cross-tabs, so there are no breakdowns by race, age, gender, political party, ideology, or location.

The poll showed both Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown and Democratic US senate candidate Barbara Boxer pulling ahead of Republican challengers Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. Other polls have shown strong support for Prop 19 among Democratic voters, even though Brown, Boxer, and most Democratic elected officials oppose the initiative. If a Brown/Boxer surge reflects improved prospects for Democratic turnout, that would be good news for Prop 19, which is favored 2-1 among Democratic voters but opposed by the same margin by Republicans.

Even with the Fox News Poll showing Prop 19 trailing by one and a Reuters/Ipsos poll two weeks ago showing it trailing by 10, the Talking Points Memo Polltracker average of all polls this year still shows Prop 19 leading by 46.8% to 44.5%. Of all the polls conducted since the beginning of September, only the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed it losing. All the other polls showed Prop 19 in the lead, although only one of them had it over 50%.

Get out the vote efforts will be critical between now and November 2, just two weeks from now. To get involved, visit  our latest action alert and follow the links. You don't need to be in California to volunteer for Prop 19; all you need is a phone.

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California Beer & Beverage Distributors Don't Speak for Us

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Former Surgeon General Calls for Marijuana Legalization

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Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders told CNN she supports legalizing marijuana. "What I think is horrible about all of this, is that we criminalize young people. And we use so many of our excellent resources ... for things that aren't really causing any problems," said Elders. "It's not a toxic substance."

Libertarian Party Chair Endorses California Prop 19

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Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle has endorsed Proposition 19 on the November ballot in California. Hinkle said, "I urge Californians to vote for Proposition 19. The War on Drugs has created tremendous damage in California and throughout America, and this will help stop that damage. A vote for Prop 19 is a vote for justice and common sense."
Independent Political Report

Peter Lewis Kicks In $219,005 for Prop 19 Marijuana Initiative

Proposition 19, California's tax and regulate pot initiative, has received yet another large late donation, this one from Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, who announced Saturday he was donating $209,500 for the effort.

"I'm supporting the campaign because I support common-sense reform of the nation's drug laws," Lewis said Saturday in a statement. "I admire the effort, energy and commitment of the people involved in the campaign, and want to help them get their message out to the voters."

The initiative would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older. They could also grow up to 25 square feet of pot and possess the harvest. Cities and counties could permit, tax, and regulate commercial marijuana sales and cultivation.

Prop 19 holds a less than three-point lead in the Talking Points Memo Polltracker average of the 15 polls taken on it so far this year. Prop 19 has 46.8% in the poll average to 44.5% against, with less than 10% undecided. [Editor's Note: As of Wednesday night, the poll tracker did not reflect a new SurveyUSA poll  that had the initiative up 48% to 44%.] Only four of the 15 polls have shown it losing, but with support under 50%, voter turnout and the undecideds will be critical in achieving victory.

The closeness of the race has inspired a surge of late donations to the campaign, including $170,000 from Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Sean Parker and $75,000 from Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap heir David Bronner and $25,000 from Washington, DC's Capitol Hemp earlier this month. Since then, in addition to the funds from Lewis, the Prop 19 campaign committee has also received $19,000 in $1,000 or more contributions.

By contrast, the opposition Public Safety First campaign, which had only $54,000 in the bank at the end of September, has received only one large donation, for $25,000, since then. Still, neither campaign has the funds for a last minute TV ad blitz, and for Prop 19, it's now all about beating the bushes for voters and getting them to the polls, the earlier the better. Early voting got underway last week.

Lewis actually gave only $59,500 to the Prop 19 campaign committee, with the other $159,005 going to the Drug Policy Action Committee, an independent entity controlled by the Drug Policy Alliance. While that committee is spending money on get out the vote efforts, it also donated $35,000 to the Prop 19 campaign committee Thursday.

Lewis, whose net worth Forbes pegs at $1.1 billion, has given millions to the drug reform cause in the past decade and a half. In 1996, Lewis donated $500,000 for Prop 215, California's ground-breaking medical marijuana initiative. He gave another $1 million to Prop 36 in 2000, which diverted thousands of nonviolent drug offenders from prison to treatment. And he has donated $2-3 million a year to fund other drug reform efforts.

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Attorney General Holder Says He Will Enforce Marijuana Laws Even If California Votes to Decriminalize, ACLU Says Continued Criminalization of Marijuana Has Disproportionate Impact on Communities of Color (Press Release)


CONTACT: Will Matthews, ACLU national, (646) 233-9572 or (212) 549-2582; [email protected]; Rebecca Farmer, ACLU of Northern California, (415) 269-6275; [email protected]

SAN FRANCISCO – In a letter made public late Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Department of Justice will “vigorously enforce” federal laws against marijuana in California, even if the state’s voters next month approve Proposition 19, a ballot initiative that would decriminalize marijuana in the state. The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal use and allow cities and counties to regulate and tax commercial sales. Holder’s letter was sent to nine former chiefs of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The criminalization of low-level marijuana possession has disproportionately impacted communities of color, has no impact on public safety and serves to divert criminal justice resources from the prosecution of more serious crimes.

In a letter sent to Holder several weeks ago, the former DEA chiefs urged him to take legal action challenging Proposition 19 in court if it passes and to make clear that it would be void even if passed because federal law would preempt it under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S Constitution. Holder’s letter this week was notably silent on both issues.

The following can be attributed to Allen Hopper, Police Practices Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California:

“Attorney General Holder’s silence speaks volumes. He does not say that the Department of Justice will seek an injunction against Proposition 19 being enacted because there is no constitutional basis for doing so. A bedrock constitutional principle underlying our federalist system of government prohibits the federal government from telling the state of California what laws it can and cannot pass or forcing the state to expend its resources prosecuting low-level marijuana offenses. It is deeply disappointing that the Obama administration would seek to impede a law that would go great lengths toward dismantling one of the defining injustices of our nation’s failed “war on drugs”: the fact that people of color, and especially youth of color, are disproportionately arrested for low-level marijuana possession. Such arrests do not increase public safety, and merely serve to divert already scarce criminal justice resources from the investigation of more serious crimes.”

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