Cannabis News DrugSense
  Youth Vote Falters Prop. 19 Falls Short
Posted by CN Staff on November 03, 2010 at 05:58:20 PT
By John Hoeffel, Reporting from Los Angeles 
Source: Los Angeles Times 

cannabis Calif. -- After taking a serious look at legalizing marijuana, Californians voted Tuesday to reject Proposition 19, which would have made the state the first to allow the drug to be sold for recreational use.

The measure drew strong support from voters younger than 25, as the campaign had hoped, but those voters did not turn out in unusually high numbers, according to a state exit poll. The initiative also failed to win over the moderate voters who make up the state's decisive swing vote.

The San Francisco Bay Area was the only region to tilt toward the measure, but it did so just slightly. In Los Angeles County, where a quarter of the state's voters live, the initiative lost.

Despite a potential double-digit loss, marijuana-legalization advocates said the proposition had transformed talk about legal pot from a late-night punch line into a serious policy matter.

"This has been a watershed moment," said Stephen Gutwillig, the California director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which waged an extensive ad campaign for the measure. "Even in defeat, Proposition 19 has moved marijuana legalization into the mainstream of American politics."

Tuesday's vote was just the first round, say legalization advocates, who are aiming measures at the 2012 ballot in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and very likely California. But it's also the second time in two years that California voters have rejected an initiative to soften penalties for drug crimes.

"The cover of the book looked nice, but it didn't read very well," said Roger Salazar, the spokesman for the opposition campaign. "This specific initiative was massively flawed."

Richard Lee, the medical marijuana entrepreneur who spearheaded the initiative and spent $1.5million on the historic campaign, pledged to work with the initiative's critics to draft a new one.

"We won tonight. We won for the last six months, the last year, all the years we've been fighting. We're going to keep fighting," Lee told supporters who gathered inside and outside Oaksterdam University, the Oakland medical marijuana trade school he founded.

California's 1996 medical marijuana initiative, the first in the nation, has led to more liberal attitudes toward pot nationwide as similar programs spread to 13 other states and the nation's capital. On Tuesday, voters in Arizona and South Dakota were deciding whether to approve programs; voters in Oregon were weighing whether to allow storefront dispensaries.

Proposition 19's backers had hoped voters worried about the economy would embrace the measure as a way to raise new taxes. In 10 cities, including San Jose, Sacramento and Long Beach, voters appeared to be overwhelmingly approving taxes on medical and recreational marijuana.

Passage of Proposition 19 would have vaulted the state into unmapped territory, invigorated the movement to legalize marijuana and set up a dramatic confrontation with the federal government.

The initiative would have eliminated all criminal penalties for adults 21 and older who planted marijuana in a plot of up to 25 square feet or possessed up to an ounce for personal use. It also would have allowed city councils and county supervisors to authorize commercial cultivation and retail sales.

But the opposition was broad, according to the poll conducted by Edison Research for the National Voter Pool, a consortium of the major television news networks and the Associated Press. Men and women opposed it. Voters of every race opposed it. The campaign had hoped black and Latino voters would see the measure as a way to end disproportionate arrests of minorities caught with marijuana.

The measure drew intense interest. Foreign leaders weighed in. All the top statewide candidates opposed it. The federal drug czar denounced it. And the U.S. attorney general pledged to "vigorously enforce" federal narcotics laws whatever California did.

Americans tuned in to the Proposition 19 debate. More than four decades after the war on drugs was declared, the country is almost evenly divided on whether to legalize marijuana.

In California, half of the voters consistently tell pollsters they favor legal marijuana and a tenth are unsure. In September, support for the initiative crept above the halfway mark, triggering euphoria among advocates. But voters became skeptical about the details.

Opponents exploited their doubts by mocking it in radio ads and suggesting that it would create an epidemic of dope-addled teenagers, motorists and nurses. Proponents said it would control marijuana as alcohol is controlled, allow police to focus on serious crimes, curtail the black market and raise billions in taxes, but they opened themselves to criticism by overstating those claims.

Lee once hoped to raise $20 million for the campaign, but big-money donors stayed out until the end. Proponents raised about $4.2 million, almost a third in the last two weeks.

Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Author: John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times
Published: November 3, 2010
Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Times

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Comment #14 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on November 03, 2010 at 23:56:29 PT
I don't blame the young -
I blame those who lied to the young.

Not the politicians and police, because I doubt many of the young trusted or listened to what they said.

But the dispensaries, growers, and dealers, who betrayed the the trust the young have in them to tell the truth, and lied their asses off to the young.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by Hope on November 03, 2010 at 21:41:08 PT
Not to mention
that aficionados of cannabis, and it's benefits, couldn't even present a united front against the horrors that the world suffers because of cannabis prohibition.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #12 posted by Hope on November 03, 2010 at 21:27:18 PT
Eighteen, nineteen, and twenty year olds
maybe didn't vote for 19 because they felt unfairly excluded.

Of course, I knew they were there and quite likely to get out and vote if they had to hitch and beg rides. No's on 19 won because the fearful, the ignorant, the wanna be cops, narcs, and government workers, the government lovers, the d.a.r.e. groupies, the hateful, the practitioners of schadenfruede, the deeply brainwashed, misled, and propagandized, the spiteful, and the self-righteous aren't a small block of our voting citizenry these days.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by afterburner on November 03, 2010 at 17:45:14 PT
2010 Midterms & Prop. 19
afterburner's aftermath:

my first reaction

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force ..." ŻObi-Wan Kenobi

my intuition led me to the following

Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp - George Harrison

i watched & listened to it 3 times in a row.

then I read what Richard Lee said about the defeat of Prop. 19

Pot measure backers vow to try again. Supporters of Prop. 19 say they will again attempt to legalize recreational marijuana use by ballot box in 2012. [earlier i read that Richard Lee said he would work together with others to improve prop. 19 for 2012.]

then I heard on the radio

Al Green – Let's Stay Together (3:17)'s+Stay+Together

and i thought, that's just how we cannabis activists, patients & enthusiasts need to live.

President Obama tried to get the republicans to help craft universal health care but all they did was obstruct.

Now, with the dems in charge of the Senate and the repubs in charge of the House, they will have to cooperate. If the two parties cannot find common ground, nothing will get done. This may delay bad laws. And Obama has the veto.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by FoM on November 03, 2010 at 13:51:52 PT
If you live in a republican area then you should try to reach them. Politics about marijuana in my state are almost a non issue. We decriminalized back in the 70s for any amount under 100 grams. We have plenty of people who don't care about politics around here. They did come out in force for Obama though!

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #9 posted by Commonsense on November 03, 2010 at 12:45:52 PT
It's not so much the Republicans in power that we have to concentrate on, it's the average Republican voter. Where I live most everyone is Republican. I don't get the sense that the average Republican cares if legal marijuana cuts into Big Alcohol's profits. Republican voters who oppose legalization tend to oppose it for the same reasons a huge minority of Democrats do. They worry that the sky is going to fall in somehow if we legalize it, that everyone will start smoking it and we'll have stoned drivers everywhere, stoned pilots, productivity will decrease, their kids will be even more likely to try it, their ex pot smoking husbands more likely to smoke it, that it will be the first domino to fall in the legalization of all drugs, etc. etc.

I really don't think political affiliation has that much bearing on why people oppose marijuana legalization, except that a lot of Republicans probably oppose it because they think that's what they're supposed to do. They feel like that's the "conservative" position so that's supposed to be their position too. So it's great to see that 30% of Republicans voted for Prop 19. The more Republicans we see supporting legalization, the less it will be seen by Republicans as a liberal position. It will be less of a decision made for those who don't think for themselves and it will be more acceptable for them to support legalization if they see it as a good idea.

Thirty percent support from Republicans is huge. What if we see 40% support for a similar initiative among Republicans in California in 2012? I think that would make a lot of Republicans around the country who oppose legalization take a hard look at their own stance. Maybe we won't see a whole new breed of Republicans in power, but we'll see a whole lot less opposition from Republican voters and politicians and maybe even some support from mainstream Republican politicians who come from districts where support for legalization among their constituency is high.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Hope on November 03, 2010 at 12:13:18 PT
The thing that brings a tear to my eye...
The thing that makes me saddest, of course, besides the fact that we didn't win the poll, is that those that stand against us are cheering our defeat.

They are so messed up in their thinking. They don't know what they are doing.

But you'll, my friends, and fellow freedom fighters, are right. We have actually made great gains, huge gains, in our struggle against injustice and scalding waste.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Hope on November 03, 2010 at 11:54:36 PT
If it was the older generation voting this down
and not the younger generation failing to exercise their voting power, I'd like to suggest that some of the younger people get to talking to their older neighbors and relatives. Once you get them to pay attention to your voice and ideas, they usually have enough sense to understand what you are saying to them. Usually.

I had three older relatives, and now only have two, but I believe they would have all voted yes on 19. All three of them.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 03, 2010 at 11:03:49 PT
I am sure you are right. The problem with Republicans is they know what will happen to the big business of alcohol and other businesses that will be effected if marijuana is legalized. They seem to love being on the right side of big business. Someday maybe in 20 years a new breed of Republican will be in power but as I see it now it's going to be a long time coming.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by Commonsense on November 03, 2010 at 10:47:08 PT
Thanks, FoM.
I think 2012 will be a good year for marijuana initiatives. The youth vote will come out because it's a presidential election. Democrats should be energized because Republicans will make asses out of themselves in Congress and Democrats will be afraid of losing Obama and more seats in Congress and the Senate. More of the oldest voters who are overwhelmingly opposed to legalization will have died or become so old and sick that they won't make it to the polls. Conditions will be much better for favorable results on marijuana initiatives.

You know, it's kind of interesting that 30% of California Republicans actually voted for Prop 19. I think we're going to see support for marijuana legalization continue to climb among Republicans too. A lot of that I think has to do with older folks being replaced with younger folks, but also the economic arguments for legalizing marijuana are starting to make more sense, and the notion of sticking it to Mexican organized crime I think is resonating with a lot of the more anti-Mexican right wingers. It wouldn't hurt us at all to see support for legalization continue to grow in the Republican ranks. They'll be coming out in force to vote against Obama in 2012. That election will likely be all about the economy like this one. That's better than having more of a religious right uprising of social conservatives who want darned near everything fun to be illegal.

We really need to work more than ever at getting fiscally conservative types on board with legalization so the next time there is a Prop 19 type initiative on the ballot in California we see more closer to 40% of Republicans voting for it rather than 30%. Increased support among Republicans coupled with increased voter turnout from Democrats and young voters would be very good for marijuana initiatives.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by GentleGiant on November 03, 2010 at 08:09:16 PT:

A Great Start To Reforming America
We didn't lose, we won. We won by finally having started a good discussion here in the states and we made some very good points. 46% of the people voted to legalize in California. That mirrors the Gallup poll that said support nationally is up to 46%. That's almost half the people. Lee's polls were pretty close in California. Plus, its midterm. Republicans always comes out in numbers. I was hoping the young vote would've been there. But, 2012 is a different story. Democrats and the young adults always comes out in large numbers. And Obama's connection with this young set, should bring them out in major numbers. Especially, if we have maybe up to four states looking to legalize. This could be something very serious. This would cause a major chink in the fed's 'war on drugs'. And look, we got a great headstart with Prop 19 and all the publicity internationally. I think the world is primed. And its going to happen in 2012.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 03, 2010 at 07:59:00 PT
It's good to see you. I voted but just because I knew I should. I will be fired up to vote for Obama for a second term and many people that I know will be too.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #2 posted by Commonsense on November 03, 2010 at 07:04:33 PT
You're right, FoM
The right wing was fired up this year. A much lower percentage of Democrats even made it to the polls, and as always, the youth vote barely turned out because it was a mid term election. Prop 203 failed in Arizona by such a slight margin. It would have been different had Republicans not been so energized and Democrats not been so ho hum about this election. Presidential elections bring out the youth vote. The spanking Democrats got this year is going to make a lot more of them show up to vote in 2012, and voter initiatives like Prop 203 and Prop 19 will have a lot better chance of passing. The 2012 election will be very interesting one for marijuana initiatives.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 03, 2010 at 06:45:19 PT
Just My Thoughts
I knew the right wing was angry and I knew it would make them vote and also vote against Prop 19. Maybe when people get fired up in 2012 when we need to vote for our next President it will get more Progressives to the polls. I didn't understand why this year was the best year but we got amazing publicity.

[ Post Comment ]

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