November 3, 2010
In the flood of election news about the Republican wave, there is one little loss that is worth noting. In California, voters rejected Proposition 19 which would have make recreational use of marijuana legal. One would think that, since the state legalized medical marijuana successfully a few years back, this one would have passed easily. But apparently the youth vote did not turn out and the measured was defeated by double digits. The only area where voters were in favor of it was the Bay Area, but only by a slim margin.
The Wednesday morning quarterbacking on this story is that just having it on the ballot was a watershed moment. I'd have to say that's true. For years, stoners have joked about making marijuana legal and here was a state, the largest in the nation, seriously considering doing just that. While lower voter turnout contributed to the loss, there was also the prickly problem of the fact that marijuana would have remained illegal at the federal level. The legal morass this would have created was probably a turn-off to most law-abiding citizens.
Well, maybe like Prop 8 in 2008, this is only the beginning of an inevitable march toward legalization. Given the amount of income it could generate from taxes, it could be increasingly hard to resist as state and federal deficits continue to grow.