Prop. 19: California Marijuana Legalization Measure Loses

5 11 2010

In a contest that pitted the legal establishment against activists that have long sought the measure’s approval, California voters snuffed out a proposal that would have legalized recreational marijuana for adults over age 21 and permit the state to tax commercial sale of the drug.

Yes we cannabisCalifornia was the only state with a measure on recreational pot, but South Dakota and Arizona ballots included medical marijuana initiatives, South Dakota’s Measure 13 went down in flames, 63 percent to 37 percent. Arizona’s Proposition 203 was statistically on the fence, though no-votes were ahead by about 7,000 with 92 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning. There are currently 14 states, and the District of Columbia, with forms of medical marijuana laws.

The proposal – titled the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act” – would have allowed adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot, consume it in nonpublic places as long as no children were present and grow it in small private plots. Proposition 19 also would have authorized local governments to permit commercial pot cultivation, as well as the sale and use of marijuana at licensed establishments.

Projections in California and by the National Council of State Legislatures show the measure has gone down to defeat by a significant margin, with 54 percent voting no compared with a 46 percent yes vote with most precincts reporting – rejecting a low-budget but high-profile campaign that could have set a groundbreaking trend for the rest of the nation. Advocates had argued that the proposal, known as Proposition 19, would have provided the cash-strapped state with a significant revenue stream and helped ease the overburdened court system, while opponents contended the measure’s approval would have created legal and social chaos.

Supporters of Proposition 19 blamed Tuesday’s outcome on the conservative leanings of older voters who participate in midterm elections. They also acknowledged that young voters had not turned out in sufficient numbers to secure victory, but said they were ready to try again in two years.

“It’s still a historic moment in this very long struggle to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Project. “Unquestionably, because of Proposition 19, marijuana legalization initiatives will be on the ballot in a number of states in 2012, and California is in the mix.”

Tim Rosales, who managed the No on 19 campaign, scoffed at that attitude from the losing side.

“If they think they are going to be back in two years, they must be smoking something,” he said. “This is a state that just bucked the national trend and went pretty hard on the Democratic side, but yet in the same vote opposed Prop 19.”

According to preliminary exit poll data, only about 1 voter in 10 said that his or her main motivation to vote in this election was Prop. 19.

Voters younger than 40 were slightly more drawn by the marijuana contest than older voters, but even among the younger voters, Prop. 19 came in third.

By far, the pot legalization initiative drew worldwide attention, but support for the measure had been sinking leading up to Tuesday’s ballot, according to recent polls. As late as Tuesday, Oakland City Attorney John Russo – a leading proponent of the pot plan – signaled its fading prospects during a Bay Area press conference.

“Even if we are cheated out of a win today, we have changed the debate from licentious hippies-versus-straight-arrow cops to one that recognizes this issue in all of its complexity,” Russo said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

 

Sources: Politico





Oakland legalizes Marijuana Farms

26 07 2010

Will this be the future? A project made by Gropech

Oakland’s City Council late Tuesday adopted regulations permitting industrial-scale marijuana farms, a plan that some small farmers argued would squeeze them out of the industry they helped to build.

To address concerns from smaller farmers, the council pledged to create regulations on regulating small- and medium-size marijuana farms this year. Council members and proponents of marijuana cultivation regulation viewed the proposal as smart public policy: It would generate revenue, ensure that fire and building codes are enforced, keep neighborhoods safe from robberies, and further position Oakland as the center of the state’s cannabis economy.

“It’s really important for Oakland to be a vital part of that growth and development for licensed facilities,” said Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan.

Read the rest of this entry »





Smoking ban? On tobacco yes, Cannabis… not!

23 07 2010

Forbidden to toke, 50€ fine... could this become a common sign in California?

Finally, someplace gets it right when it comes to smoking.

Medical marijuana will not be subject to the smoking ban adopted by the Sebastopol City Council on Tuesday — at least for the time being.

The council unanimously(!) voted to remove medical marijuana from the proposed ordinance and focus only on the use of tobacco after a series of speakers, several of whom said they used cannabis for medical purposes, expressed fears that the ordinance would interfere with their legal use of pot.

The ordinance had originally included cannabis, as well as a number of other substances, including crack cocaine, reports George Snyder at Sonoma West Times & News.

The council decided to focus on tobacco alone at the suggestion of council member Linda Kelley as a way to allow medical marijuana users to not become entangled in potential legal issues outlined by City Attorney Larry McLaughlin.

In addition, although recreational pot use is not currently legal, that could change with Prop 19, which would legalize cannabis for adults, on the November ballot, McLaughlin said.

By limiting the focus of the smoking ordinance on the effects of nicotine and tobacco smoke, the council was told, the ordinance could sidestep the marijuana issue.

The council could, perhaps in six months or a year, revisit the marijuana exemption to see if complains about pot smoke indicated a problem, suggested council member Larry Robinson, who had long pushed adoption of the smoking ordinance.

“The point is not to infringe on the rights of people in their home, but to protect others in their homes,” Robinson said.

The city had been working since 2008 to make the smoking ordinance more comprehensive, according to City Manager Jack Griffin.

“The city has already established smoking bans in public parks and playgrounds,” Griffin said. “The proposed ordinance significantly increases the city’s smoking regulations to include a number of additional locations, most notably multi-family dwelling units.”

Current regulations focus on outlawing smoking in public places including retail stores, restaurants, banks, offices, theaters, auditoriums and other businesses.

The biggest change in the proposed ordinance would ban smoking in apartments (“multi-family dwelling units”), as well as in unenclosed apartment complex common areas except designated smoking areas.

The ordinance would require each lease or rental agreement in apartment complexes to contain provisions outlining the new rules.

Single-family homes would not be affected by the ordinance.

Source: Toke of the Town





Prop 19 gets big Union endorsment

16 07 2010

California’s Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization initiative that will appear on November’s ballot, got a big boost Wednesday as it won the endorsement of the council which oversees the political work of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in the state.

“I’m expecting to garner the endorsements of most of the major unions in California over the next several weeks,” said Dan Rush, who oversees special operations for the UFCW, Local 5, and has pushed efforts to gain union support for the measure, reports John Hoeffel of the Los Angeles Times.

Local 5 has assigned Rush to work on the initiative. “I’ll be handling the strategy to bring in other unions, and their endorsements and resources,” Rush said.

The local has around 26,000 members in California and has already started a drive to organize workers in the expanding marijuana industry, with about 100 of the pot workers already having joined as members.

Local 5, along with the union’s Western States Council, which coordinates political activities with union locals in California and four other states, endorsed Prop 19.

The endorsement was a natural outgrowth of the Council’s support for the medical marijuana initiative in 1996, according to Executive Director George Landers.

“We view Proposition 19 as an enhanced version of the previous proposition that creates taxable revenue, and produces jobs in agriculture, healthcare, retail and possibly textile,” Landers said.

The state’s unions could play a pivotal role in the Prop 19 campaign, if they commit substantial money and hours to the effort. Besides contributing cash, union workers often operate phone banks and campaign door-to-door for endorsed initiatives.

The support from unions also helps to drive home another central message of Prop 19 proponents, according to Hoeffel: That marijuana should be treated as a business that could create jobs and bring in much-needed tax dollars.








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