Tea Partiers Stoked About Legal Pot
Libertarianism trumping Reagan-era attitudes in California
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2010 6:58 AM CDT
Lanette Davies, co-owner of a medical marijuana shop, looks at some young marijuana plants at their facility in Sacramento, Calif.    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

(Newser) – Smaller government, lower taxes ... and legal marijuana? Tea Partiers aren't generally associated with toking, but Californians backing Proposition 19 say a surprisingly large share of the movement is planning to vote to legalize pot. Tea Partiers—as well as many Republicans in general—have a strong libertarian streak and leaders like Colorado's Tom Tancredo and Kentucky's Rand Paul have voiced their support for legalization.

"I thought Prop. 19 was going to be more of a liberal Democratic thing, and then suddenly I find, hey, I'm wrong," a former California sheriff's deputy turned pro-legalization activist tells the Christian Science Monitor. "Tea Party people have a very strong position that the government has no right to get involved in your private affairs when you're not hurting yourself or somebody else. And that's basically Prop. 19 in a nutshell." Even with Tea Partiers on board, the proposition is trailing in the polls, the Los Angeles Times notes. Its backers are hoping a surge of new voters will help push it over the top.