After an annual survey of teen drug use nationwide found that marijuana smoking is on the rise among eighth- through 12th-graders, Kerlikowske attributed the uptick to California's Proposition 19 and other states' initiatives to legalize medical marijuana. "Mixed messages about drug legalization, particularly marijuana, may be to blame," he said in a news release. "Such messages certainly don't help parents who are trying to prevent kids from using drugs."
Despite Proposition 19's loss at the polls this month, marijuana-legalization advocates in California are already working on their comeback plan for 2012 and are almost giddy about their prospects. They see the election as a trial run that could lead to a campaign with a better message, a tighter measure and more money. Both the winning and losing sides say California's voters rejected this specific initiative but remain open to legalizing the easily obtainable drug.
Drug use and abuse are social and pubic health issues. But these drug laws started as purity laws in a progressive effort to stop pharmaceutical companies from addicting their unknowing customers to substances like heroin and cocaine added to common products like cough medicine and soft drinks. We have lost sight of these original goals.
One might have expected the principals of the Proposition 19 campaign to partially decriminalize marijuana possession and use to be a little chagrined in the wake the initiative's 54-46 loss after it had maintained a narrow but reasonably steady lead in the polls until a couple of weeks before Election Day. But in two teleconferences in which I participated after the election, they were remarkably upbeat, celebrating Prop. 19 as the proposal that finally brought marijuana legalization into the mainstream, garnering mostly favorable news coverage worldwide that significantly advanced the debate over marijuana legalization.
Proposition 19, which would have legalized in California, received more votes than the Republican nominee for governor. It also received untold news coverage, bringing the debate a new level of legitimacy in the eyes of many supporters. And while it lost — with 46 percent of the vote — its showing at the polls was strong enough that those supporters are confidently planning to bring it back before voters in California, and perhaps other states, in 2012.
A U.S. federal appeals court judge says the United States should consider legalizing marijuana. Judge Juan Torruella tells a law school audience in Puerto Rico that experimenting with legalization of marijuana and perhaps other drugs is a better way to reduce drug abuse and crime.
Despite Proposition 19's loss at the polls last week, marijuana legalization advocates in California are already working on their comeback plan for 2012 and are almost giddy about their prospects. They see the election as a trial run that could lead to a campaign with a better message, a tighter measure and more money. Both the winning and losing sides say California's voters rejected this specific initiative, but remain open to legalizing the easily obtainable drug.
Colorado marijuana activists, undaunted by California’s failure to legalize the drug, said last week they are launching two separate campaigns to legalize marijuana for adults in 2012. The groups announced their intentions even as voters in more than two dozen Colorado municipalities decided last week to ban medical marijuana centers. But advocates who want to legalize the drug see hope in Colorado, one of 14 states where medical marijuana is legal, and where Denver voters approved an ordinance making marijuana possession the “lowest law-enforcement priority.”
Voters in more than a dozen state legislative districts backed dramatic expansions to legal access to marijuana in Tuesday’s elections, and advocates plan to use the results to press lawmakers to loosen restrictions on the drug. Advocates placed 18 advisory questions on Tuesday’s ballot to get a sense whether voters would support another overhaul of marijuana laws.
Supporters of legalizing marijuana in California spent the day after the election laying the groundwork to rebound from their 54%-to-46% defeat and return to the ballot in two years. "We have a debate that was just heard around the world, and the conversation has only just begun," said Dale Sky Jones, a spokeswoman for the Proposition 19 campaign. Although California voters did not buy the argument that marijuana should be legalized like alcohol, many agreed that it should be taxed like it. Voters in 10 cities overwhelmingly approved taxes on sales of medical and recreational pot.
California voters rejected Prop. 19, but a post-election poll found that they still lean toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use and, if young voters had turned out as heavily on Tuesday as they do for presidential elections, the result would have been a close call. "It is our view, looking at this research, that if indeed legalization goes on ballot in 2012 in California, that it is poised to win."
California voters weren't high on a ballot measure aimed at legalizing marijuana and appeared to heed warnings of legal chaos and a federal showdown when they defeated the initiative to make the state the first in the nation to allow the recreational use and sale of pot. Supporters of Proposition 19 blamed Tuesday's outcome on the conservative leanings of older voters who participate in midterm elections. They 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.
The campaign's message was, win or lose, the initiative has stimulated widespread debate and shown that the nation's ban on marijuana is destined to fall. "Millions of people will vote for Proposition 19," said Stephen Gutwillig, the California director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "We will never go back to a time when marijuana reform was outside the realm of thinkable thought."
What was Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos smoking? Colombia has long been an obedient lieutenant in the U.S.-led war on drugs, yet there was Santos musing out loud — at a presidential summit, of all places — about the possibility of exporting bales of marijuana to California dopers. "I would like to know," he said on Oct. 26, "if the eighth-largest economy in the world and a state that's famous for high technology, movies and fine wine, will permit marijuana imports?"
Just say no, the slogan says. But on November 2, California has the chance to say yes, at least to marijuana. Proposition 19 would legalise the production, sale and use of cannabis, abolishing an ineffective and socially damaging prohibition on a substance with fewer health risks than alcohol and tobacco. The Golden State should vote to legalise dope.
Our marijuana laws are clearly doing more harm than good. The criminalization of marijuana did not prevent marijuana from becoming the most widely used illegal substance in the United States and many other countries. But it did result in extensive costs and negative consequences.
The leaders of several Latin American nations on the front lines of the battle against drugs said Tuesday that a California ballot measure to legalize marijuana would send a contradictory message from the United States.The Nov. 2 election in California was a key topic as Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos hosted the presidents of Mexico and three other countries at a one-day summit.
With all the hand-wringing over a Democratic "enthusiasm gap," one effort to turn out young people at the polls this November is showing real energy and promise. What's the secret? In a word, as 78-year-old John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, put it, "Pot."
Over a dozen US states have already decriminalised possession or personal use of cannabis, and Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California are already home to thriving (and profitable) medical marijuana industries. Meanwhile, in liberal New York City, we've seen a sweeping expansion of marijuana-related arrests in the last few years, and in LA and other major cities of California, black people are arrested at twice, thrice and up to seven times the rate of white people, despite federal studies that show that marijuana is used more commonly by white Americans.
Vote yes on Proposition 19, the measure to legalize marijuana, and the unofficial state weed and largest cash crop will be controlled like alcohol, police will focus on serious crimes and California will get billions of dollars in new taxes. That's the pitch proponents make. "It's a jumbled legal nightmare," opponents retort, disputing those claims and insisting that the measure would lead to stoned nurses in hospitals, drugged motorists on the road and more high teenagers.