Prop 19, California’s ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, is projected to be defeated at the polls today. The results currently show Prop 19 down 56-43 with 20% reporting, but will get much closer as the rest of the state reports. It’s clear though that 2010 is not the year California will legalize marijuana. The Yes on 19 campaign released a statement conceding the election.
There’s much to be discussed in the coming days about why Prop 19 lost, what it means, and what states are the best bets to try legalization next time around. The Yes on 19 campaign really began to build a full campaign apparatus in the last month and a half, and as such, the operation wasn’t able to overcome an already difficult electorate. We’ll need to look at turnout numbers and see to what extent, if any, young voters helped drive yes votes for 19.
Outside of California, it’s not any better for marijuana measures. Oregon and South Dakota defeated their respective medical marijuana measures soundly; Arizona’s Prop 203 to legalize medical marijuana is in a nail biter, with 48.67% of the vote and 81% reporting. More results at JustSayNow.com.
Just Say Now was able to drive more than 30,000 calls to California voters as of yesterday, including 14,000 on Sunday alone. We had more people calling all day yesterday and today, and we’ll know soon our impact from those. We made thousands more calls for medical marijuana measures in Arizona, Oregon, and South Dakota. We built websites for both Oregon and South Dakota to help inform voters. We put together an incredible transpartisan coalition of liberals and libertarians, professors and police chiefs that shook up the debate on Prop 19. We’ve been a part of an incredible effort that could not have happened without our Just Say Now supporters.
And the entire conversation has changed. Sure, you still get cheesy headlines and pot stereotypes. But marijuana legalization is being seriously debated and discussed in virtually every major media outlet and venue. And nearly half of Americans now say they support legalizing marijuana. Marijuana legalization is on the move.
For now, it’s clear that this is just the start of a robust, grassroots movement to legalize marijuana that will try again in 2012; not just in California, but in other states that are ready to legalize. We’ll need a core group of activists and supporters to help put measures on the ballot, and then make sure they pass.
Prop 19 may have lost tonight, but our movement to legalize marijuana moves on.