The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tony Newman (646) 335-5384 or
Stephen Gutwillig (323) 542-2606

California's Marijuana Legalization Initiative Falls Short

Proposition 19 was an Extraordinary Victory for National Movement to Legalize Marijuana


California voters decided against the adoption of Proposition 19, which
would have legalized possession and cultivation of small amounts of
marijuana by adults and allow cities and counties to regulate sales of
marijuana within their jurisdictions. A win at the ballot would have
been a first of its kind in U.S. history.

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance offered this statement:
California's Proposition 19 may not have won a majority of votes
yesterday, but it already represents an extraordinary victory for the
broader movement to legalize marijuana. Its mere presence on the
ballot, combined with a well run campaign, transformed public dialogue
about marijuana and marijuana policy.
Prop. 19 both elevated and legitimized public discourse about marijuana
and marijuana policy. The media coverage, around the country and
internationally, has been exceptional, both in quantity and quality.
The campaign forged an unprecedented coalition of drug policy reformers,
mainstream civil rights groups, organized labor, and a large contingent
of outspoken retired law enforcement figures.
There's now solid and increasing evidence that marijuana legalization
is an issue that young people care about a lot - and that putting it on
the ballot increases the chances that they'll actually vote. Both major
parties have no choice but to pay attention, especially when the
political allegiances of young voters are very much up for grabs.
For those of us engaged in long term strategizing on marijuana law
reform, the plan remains the same: to put the issue to voters in states
where polls show majority support for legalizing marijuana, and to
introduce similar bills in state legislatures. It's too soon to say
whether the issue will be back on the ballot in California in 2012, but
at the very least we know that a bill to tax and regulate marijuana will
be considered by the state legislature, just as one was earlier this

The Drug Policy Alliance is the nation's leading organization promoting drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

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