Why Proposition 19 Failed
Little funding, lack of young voter turnout, and other factors
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2010 10:59 AM CDT
California Proposition 19 supporter Kainoa Ignacio holds up a sign as he makes a Hawaiian greetings sign during a rally at the University of California, Berkeley campus, Nov. 1, 2010.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(Newser) Proposition 19, California’s marijuana legalization measure, went up in smoke yesterday—but why? A few opinions:

  • Pot is already legal: The campaign for Prop 19 was “centered on the injustice and waste of law enforcement resources involved in treating cannabis smokers like criminals,” a point that was effectively squelched when California decriminalized marijuana last month, making it simply an infraction to possess up to an ounce of the drug, writes Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone.

  • Money, money, money: Prop 19 was showered with attention, but “relatively little money was spent on the campaign,” writes Anthony York in the Los Angeles Times.
  • Where were the kids? Dickinson also points out that young voters, who overwhelmingly backed the measure, "didn't turn out in force to propel its passage.”
  • Wrong approach: “Proponents emphasized the wrong arguments,” writes Jeffrey A. Miron for CNN. Claims of budgetary benefits and lessened Mexican drug violence were “overblown,” and the proposition itself “overreached,” especially in its aim to “protect the ‘rights’ of employees who get fired or disciplined for using marijuana.” It also didn’t help that, thanks to its continued illegal status federally, pot would have effectively been in “legal limbo.”
For more on the measure, click here.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Nov 4, 2010 10:27 AM CDT
Give it two years. Young people don't vote in midterms haha. Sell it to the conservatives as freedom from big government. It is the same thing. It's only a matter of time before this passes, it is a common sense idea
Nov 3, 2010 10:05 PM CDT
I find it so funny that you see to drunk guys fighting out side a bar,but you never see to stoned people fighting out side a bar. Or you never here of a stoned driver killing someone,but again this country will let people get so wasted that they go of and kill someone. What is wrong with this country??? They just proved that alcohol is the most dangerous drug to human kind. Pot is forth down on that list.. Final point, They have also proved that pot helps with alcoholism.. Again its still not legal with out being prescribed!!!
Nov 3, 2010 8:59 PM CDT
The shortcomings of California's Prop 19 will be addressed. Next, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and California again will try with a more focused ballot measure, one that does not include employee protections for smoking pot. Playing up the Libertarian and morality angles is fine, but I think misconceptions about legalization such as everyone, drivers included, will be stoned all the time were more important. These mistaken viewpoints will have to be more clearly addressed. This issue really is one that transcends parties. Democrat "leaders" cower because they don't want to appear soft on crime, and on the Right, it is the Christian fundamentalists who oppose legalization. The other 80% are open to change if their concerns are dealt with. Once state after state legalizes pot, then national legislation doing likewise will get more and more support from our cowardly leaders . . .