Posts Tagged ‘prop 19’

Strong Signs Massachusetts Voters Are Ready to Embrace Marijuana Legalization

Are the voters in Massachusetts ready to embrace marijuana legalization in 2012? Analysis of the vote on local marijuana legalization advisory ballot question strongly points to yes.

Massachusetts allows for citizens to place non-binding local “public policy questions” on the ballot. This year, in several precincts, voters weighed in on whether their local representatives should “vote in favor of legislation that would allow the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.” On Tuesday, over 150,000 votes were cast on the issue across the state in districts containing around 8.5 percent of the total vote.

In the districts where it was on the ballot, the advisory question passed with an impressive 61 percent of the vote, but these districts were on the whole slightly more liberal and pro-reform than the rest of the state. To determine how these results might translate to a statewide marijuana legalization ballot question, I used two different metrics. Continue reading for the results. Continue reading

Proposition 19 loss gives CO chance to be first state to legalize marijuana

The state of CO is planning a launch of Legalize2012.com, a drive to legalize marijuana for adult use in Colorado — and noted that organizers planned to move forward even if Proposition 19, a similar measure in California, failed at the ballot box — which it did. But advocates Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente, while downcast about the Prop. 19 results, see the opportunity to now cast Colorado in the history-making role.

Shortly after the die was cast last night, Tvert, of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, aka SAFER, and Vicente, who heads Sensible Colorado, jointly released statements expressing confidence that the Prop. 19 vote won’t doom legalization efforts in Colorado. To the contrary, they suggest that the “no” vote in Cali will energize their push over the next two years.

Here’s their release:

Prop. 19 Loss in California Means Colorado Could Be First State to Legalize Marijuana
State’s largest marijuana reform organizations — SAFER and Sensible Colorado — planning 2012 statewide initiative to make marijuana legal and regulate it like alcohol

Colorado groups not deterred by California results — point to polls that show Coloradans are ready for legalization

DENVER — The state’s two largest marijuana policy reform organizations are not deterred by the results of Proposition 19 in California and will move forward with a similar 2012 statewide ballot initiative in Colorado. Prop. 19 was trailing 56-44 at the time of this release.

Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) and Sensible Colorado are working to place a measure on the 2012 ballot that would remove penalties for adult marijuana use and establish a system of regulation for marijuana similar to that of alcohol.

According to a 9 News/Denver Post poll released last week, 46 percent of likely 2010 voters would support such a measure, while just 43 percent would oppose it. The poll echoes previous and recent internal polls showing support for regulating marijuana around 50 percent among 2010 likely voters.The 2012 electorate should be even more favorably inclined toward supporting such a measure.

“California started the race toward legalization but Colorado is going to finish it,” said Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER, which coordinated the successful citywide marijuana initiatives in Denver in 2005 and 2007, and the statewide marijuana initiative in 2006. “Coloradans are ready to move forward and bring about a safer, more sensible approach to marijuana.

“For too long our government and the Arrest and Prosecution Industry have been playing a game to keep marijuana illegal for adults,” Tvert said. “That game will soon be over — we’re playing to win in 2012.”

SAFER and its close ally, Sensible Colorado, have been working on plans for a 2012 initiative while closely following the fight over Prop. 19 in California this year.

“Over the past five years we have built a large coalition of organizations, elected officials, and citizens across the state,” said Sensible Colorado Executive Director Brian Vicente. “Now that the 2010 election is over we are moving full-steam ahead with a plan to organize, mobilize, and energize our coalition and potential voters throughout Colorado.

“The campaign for legalization in Colorado begins today and will not end until we become the first — or one of the first — in the nation to establish a legal marijuana market for all adults.”

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Prop 19 Goes Up In Smoke

LOS ANGELES — California voters declined to make their trendsetting state the nation’s first to legalize marijuana use and sales, heeding warnings of legal chaos and that pot smokers would get behind the wheel and show up to work while high.

The legalization effort was losing by nine percentage points with more than two-thirds of precincts reporting. Backers showed support for the measure by gathering outside the campaign’s headquarters to watch returns come in – some of them lighting up joints to mark the occasion.

Supporters of Proposition 19 blamed Tuesday’s outcome on the conservative leanings of older voters who participate in midterm elections. They also acknowledged that young voters had not turned out in sufficient numbers to secure victory, but said they were ready to try again in two years.

“It’s still a historic moment in this very long struggle to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Project. “Unquestionably, because of Proposition 19, marijuana legalization initiatives will be on the ballot in a number of states in 2012, and California is in the mix.”

Tim Rosales, who managed the No on 19 campaign, scoffed at that attitude from the losing side.

“If they think they are going to be back in two years, they must be smoking something,” he said. “This is a state that just bucked the national trend and went pretty hard on the Democratic side, but yet in the same vote opposed Prop 19. I think that says volumes as far as where California voters are on this issue.”

The campaign pitted the state’s political and law enforcement establishment against determined activists. Images of marijuana leaves and smashed-up cars and school buses appeared in dueling ads during the campaign.

In a sign of what a tough sell it was, an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press showed opposition cutting across gender and racial lines, as well as income and education levels.

The ballot measure lost in the state’s vaunted marijuana-growing region known as the “Emerald Triangle” of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. Many in the region feared the system they have created would be taken over by corporations or lose its purpose. Continue reading

19 Reasons for Every Californian to Vote Yes on Prop 19

Article written by NORML

California’s Prop 19 will be the most talked-about ballot initiative in the November election.  This measure would make lawful the possession and sharing of one ounce of marijuana outside the home and allow for personal cultivation of a small marijuana garden and possession of its harvest in the home.  California cities and counties would be able to opt-in to commercial sales, regulation, and taxation of marijuana.  Existing prohibitions against driving under the influence and working under the influence would be maintained and prohibitions against furnishing marijuana to minors would be strengthened.

After almost 100 years of marijuana prohibition in California, marijuana is more popular and accepted than ever.  Prohibition has clearly failed.  Prop 19 gives us another choice, one that benefits not just those who enjoy the herb, but the entire state of California and ultimately, the nation and the world.  Whether you are a regular marijuana user now, an occasional toker back in the day, or you’ve never touched the stuff, there are many compelling economic, social, public safety, and civil libertarian reasons to support its legalization.  Here are nineteen reasons for six distinct groups of Californians to vote Yes on Prop 19.

For the Concerned Parents

1. To make pot more difficult for kids to buy. It might seem counter-intuitive to some, but illegal marijuana is much easier to acquire than regulated marijuana because weed dealers don’t check ID’s.  Four out of five high school seniors, more than three in five sophomores, and two in five middle schoolers (8th grade) say marijuana is “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get.  One third of 16-17-year-olds say marijuana is easiest to buy, not cigarettes, alcohol, or prescription drugs.  Two out of five teens say they can get marijuana in a day; almost one in four can get marijuana in an hour.  Obviously letting unregulated dealers control the marijuana market is not protecting your kids from access to marijuana.  On the other hand, aggressive enforcement of ID carding for minors, combined with public education have led to some of the lowest rates of teen alcohol and tobacco use ever recorded.  Prop 19 enacts the same common sense ID carding for marijuana as we use for martinis and Marlboros.

2. To make pot more difficult for kids to sell in school. Regardless of what regulations we put on marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco, there will be some kids who manage to get a hold of it.  But part of what makes marijuana so easy for teens to buy is that they can all find in their high school one of the one million teens nationally who are dealing it.  Legal access to marijuana for adults removes the criminal risk markup that makes pot so profitable.  After all, when was the last time you heard of a beer dealer in a high school hallway?  Prop 19 eliminates the huge profit that entices youngsters to sell marijuana.

3. To make pot less available for transfer from young adults. Governor Schwarzenegger signed a decriminalization bill that makes it an infraction, not a crime, to possess and share of up to one ounce of marijuana between anyone 18 and older.  Prop 19 adds a stiff punishment of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for any adult aged 21 or older who shares marijuana with anyone aged 18-20, just like we punish adults who furnish alcohol to those under legal age.  When it’s tougher for those 18-20 to get marijuana, it’s tougher for them to share it friends under 18.  Prop 19 treats marijuana like alcohol as a privilege for age 21 and older.

For the “Law and Order” Crowd

4. To decrease the profits of violent criminals. Prohibited marijuana brings with it the same problems as prohibited alcohol did – gangs and violence.  We don’t see bootleggers shooting up the streets over whiskey distribution any more.  We don’t see clandestine wine grape vineyards sprouting up in national forests.  Providing California’s adults a legal way to grow or buy their own marijuana means violent drug gangs lose customers.  No, these gangsters won’t stop being gangsters, but they will become gangsters with lower budgets and fewer associates.  Prop 19 brings the dangerous underground marijuana market into a safe, regulated, inspected, and taxed legal market.

5. To increase public trust of law enforcement.  Currently more than 1 in 10 adult Californians smoke pot every year.  It is unknown how many of these 2.9 million annual users fail to report crimes for fear of police interviewing them and discovering the marijuana they possess or grow.  Prohibition also creates fear and paranoia that lingers long after the joint is smoked for these adults whenever they see police, fear that even talking to police could end in a ticket or arrest. Prop 19 allows otherwise law-abiding cannabis consumers to trust and help law enforcement.

6. To prioritize our law enforcement.  It is estimated that including the arrest, jail, prison, court, and marijuana eradication costs, California spends $200 million per year on marijuana law enforcement.  Then there is the time and space we can’t afford in our overworked court system and overcrowded prisons.  Prop 19 alleviates much of those problems while maintaining the current laws against irresponsible use of marijuana, such as driving under the influence and giving marijuana to kidsProp 19 focuses police priorities away from adults who enjoy marijuana responsibly and onto real crime.

Read more for the full article. Continue reading

Weed On The Ballot [video]

From CNN:

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Progressive Ins. Founder Donates To Legalize It in CA

From StopTheDrugWar.com

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 four-point lead in the Talking Points Memo Polltracker average of the 13 polls taken on it so far this year. Prop 19 has 47.4% in the poll average to 43.2% against, with less than 10% undecided. Only three of the 13 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 this 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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