Prop 19 Postmortem

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I’ve been busy and only just now got around to looking at the final results for Prop 19, the California initiative to legalize marijuana. Here it is:

I know this won’t be much solace to everyone who worked on Prop 19, but…..this isn’t so bad, really. Given the automatic headwind of getting people to vote Yes on anything, the additional headwind of a big Republican turnout, plus the general nervousness that middle class people have about drugs, a loss this small is actually sort of encouraging. All we need to turn this around in a few years is for 4% of voters to change their minds.

What’s more, the threat of Prop 19 passing probably helped to get the penalty for pot possession reduced from a misdemeanor to an infraction. So now, on the off chance that you get caught with a small bag of weed, all you get is the equivalent of a traffic ticket. A lot of people think this reduced the incentive to vote for Prop 19 and thus helped to defeat it, and maybe it did (though I’m skeptical). But it still means we made progress. And we’re not very far from making even more. Probably not in 2012, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar to Prop 19 could pass by 2014 if the stars align favorably.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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