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

(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.

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.
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)
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