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Friday Morning Update — Voters Nationwide Decide Marijuana Law Reform Measures

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 3, 2010

    [Friday morning update!] In California, voters decided 46 percent to 54 percent, against Prop. 19, which sought to legalize the adult possession of limited quantities of marijuana in private, and to allow for local governments to regulate its commercial production and retail distribution. The 46+ percent (3,471,308 million Californians) voting ‘yes’ on Prop. 19 marks the greatest percentage of citizen support ever recorded on a statewide marijuana legalization effort.

    Commenting on the vote, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said that marijuana legalization is no longer a matter of ‘if,’ but a matter of ‘when.’

    “Social change doesn’t happen overnight, and in this case we are advocating for the repeal of a criminal policy that has existed for over 70 years federally and for nearly 100 years in California,” he said. “We are taking on the establishment and those who have vested interests in maintaining this longstanding failed policy. Yet, despite these odds, we have momentum and an unparalleled coalition of supporters – from law enforcement personnel, to civil rights groups, to organized labor, to lawyers, clergy, and public health professionals. In just a few short months, this campaign moved public opinion forward nationally, and led to the signing of historic legislation here in California that will end the arrest and prosecution of tens of thousands of minor marijuana offenders.”

    He continued: “Throughout this campaign, even our opponents conceded that America’s present marijuana prohibition is a failure. They recognize that the question now isn’t ‘Should be legalize and regulate marijuana,’ but ‘How should we legalize and regulate marijuana?’”

    He concluded: “In the near future there will be a slew of other states deciding on measures similar to Prop. 19 in their state houses and at the ballot box. And no doubt here in California, lawmakers in 2011 will once again be debating this issue, as will the voters in 2012.

    Backers of the measure have already announced plans for a similar campaign in 2012.

    In Arizona, voters are narrowly against Proposition 203, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which would permit state-registered patients to obtain cannabis legally from licensed facilities. But the gap is closing. As of Friday morning, the the race still remains too close to call, with Prop. 203 is trailing by less than 4,000 votes. With as many as 300,000 ballots and provisional ballots left to be counted, it could be several more days before election officials make an official decision. The proposal is sponsored by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, an affiliate of the Marijuana Policy Project. Learn more about Proposition 203 here: http://stoparrestingpatients.org/home/.

    In South Dakota, voters decided against Measure 13, the South Dakota Safe Access Act, which sought to exempt state criminal penalties for state-authorized patients who possessed marijuana. South Dakota voters had previously rejected a similar proposal in 2006. It is the only state where voters have ever decided against a medical marijuana legalization initiative.

    In Oregon, voters decided against Measure 74, The Oregon Regulate Medical Marijuana Supply System Act of 2010, which sought to create state-licensed not-for-profit facilities to assist in the production and distribution of marijuana to qualified patients. Oregon voters initially authorized the physician-authorized use of marijuana in 1998. Several states, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Maine, have enacted statewide regulations licensing the production and dispensing of medical cannabis.

    In other election developments that are pertinent to marijuana law reformers, California Democrat Kamala Harris is still narrowly leading Republican Steven Cooley for the office of state Attorney General. As of Friday morning, Harris is leading Cooley by less than one tenth of one percentage point (some 9,000 total votes) with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Yet with over two million ballots still left to count, The L.A. Times today reports, “With such a slim gap, the race for California’s top law enforcement office remained too close to call, and a clear winner may not emerge for days or even weeks.” Cooley is opposed by many marijuana reform organizations, including Americans for Safe Access, for his public opposition to medical marijuana, and his contention that any retail sale of medical cannabis is in violation of state law.

    Also, in California, voters approved citywide ordinances in Albany (Measure Q), Berkeley (Measure S), La Puente (Prop. M), Oakland (Measure V), Rancho Cordova (Measure O), Richmond, Sacramento (Measure C), San Jose (Measure U), Stockton (Measure I) to impose new taxes on medical marijuana sales and/or production and businesses licenses. California NORML, along with several other reform groups, specifically opposed the Rancho Cordova measure as an excessive penalty on medical cannabis growers. Groups were divided in their support of many of the other local proposals.

    Voters in Berkeley also approved a separate ordinance (Measure T) to permit a fourth medical marijuana dispensary in the city and reconstitute the city’s Medical Marijuana Commission Voters in Morro Bay and Santa Barbara rejected proposed municipal bans on dispensaries.

    New Mexico voters elected Republican Susan Martinez to be the state’s next Governor. While campaigning for the office, Martinez voiced opposition to the state’s medical cannabis law, which since 2007 has allowed the state Department of Health to authorize medical marijuana users and third party, not-for-profit providers.

    In Vermont, Democrat Peter Shumlin narrowly leads in the Governor’s race, with 91 percent of precincts reporting. While serving as state senator, Shumlin has been an advocate for both medical marijuana and decriminalization.

    Connecticut voters have narrowly elected Democrat Dan Malloy for Governor. However, as of Friday morning, his Republican challenger Tom Foley appears ready to legally challenge the vote count. Malloy reportedly supports decriminalizing marijuana for adults, and also supports the legalization of medical cannabis. Malloy’s predecessor, Republican M. Jodi Rell, vetoed legislation in 2007 that would have allowed for the legal use of marijuana by those authorized by their physician.

    In Massachusetts, voters in over 70 cities and towns decided favorably on non-binding public policy questions regarding the taxation of the adult use of marijuana and the legalization of the physician-supervised use of medical cannabis. Approximately 13 percent of the state’s registered voters weighed in on the questions.

    Finally, Dane County (Madison), Wisconsin voters resoundingly backed a non-binding local initiative that asked, “Should the Wisconsin Legislature enact legislation allowing residents with debilitating medical conditions to acquire and possess marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician?” Seventy-five percent of voters decided ‘yes’ on the measure. In recent years, Wisconsin has been a highly contested battleground state in the fight for medical cannabis access.

    274 Responses to “Friday Morning Update — Voters Nationwide Decide Marijuana Law Reform Measures”

    1. Manford Mantis says:

      220 Michele

      The anti-tobacco and anti-alcohol prohibs sure don’t want to add another drug to their hit list.

      What has happened in California is very much like a Mafioso message – the feds have intimidated the California voters by announcing “We don’t care what California does with their sovereinty – we will aggressively pursue federal law – got the message?” California went from 71% in favor to the mattresses andiamo.

    2. Pain-fully Stressed says:

      i live in ny and i watched the midterm elections on tv all day just for this issue. you guys had one promising chance to wake up the next mornin knowin that you were free from arrest. im really disappointed in cali. yea u had good support but u guys collected all those signatures and put the issue on the ballot, for what? just so you can miss the vote by 11+%. im pissed. u could have paved the way for all of this country. the republican party said they were goin to listen to the people and that our priority is their priority. so lets bring up marijuana legalization to them. why are u guys waiting until 2011, 2012. do it now . come on !

    3. Nic says:

      Do you wonder why cannabis is so important?

      A simple catnip, so many important people have inhaled

      The Dreams

    4. Nic says:

      My Dream

      Is to stop drinking so much alcohol

      YES Cannabis

    5. Common Man says:

      I have written my representatives, state, federal and every President since Clinton. I’ve donated to LEAP and NORML. I’ve constantly tried to educate anyone who will listen. I’ve supported those who have claimed to be “Progressive” and it hasn’t made a damned bit of difference. Neither the Democrats, Republicans or wacko Tea Partyers are ever going to support our cause. A great example is Obama. He claimed to be aware of the futility of the “War on Some Drugs” and as soon as he was elected he threw us under the bus. I’ve been fighting this for 30 years and I’ve come to the conclusion that I will never see Cannabis Legalization. There are just too many people who depend on Prohibition for their income. I believe the police are the worst. So I’ll remain a “Criminal” in the closet because exiting that closet would destroy my life. I have lost all faith in the government or organizations like NORML. NORML means well and tries hard but we just don’t have the $$$ or the political clout. I am sadly disappointed and disheartened by the failure nationwide to end this evil prohibition.

    6. JS says:

      You know, when I tell people about the anti-cancer effects of cannabis extract or show them the Rick Simmons video I always get “I never heard that before”. The same is true for other diseases it really helps like MS. Public education about it has to happen in order for the average person to consider it. The “stoner” model just doesn’t work near as well. Is there any money left in the coffers that could be used for something like this?

    7. Calcula7ed says:

      Is that why you refuse to respond or allow any of my comments here? Most are refused and you say that you accept all comments. Dishonest. “You” absolutely have an agenda and “you” have lost trust with the people that you say you’re trying to help. Does that sound familiar? It should.

      Just like that huge tunnel on the border that was said to be created by cartels. I wonder who really had a hand in making that operation? Sounds more like a “grey” op. It’s designed and made then its turned in as a “discovery” all upon the outcome of the ballots. Let me get this straight. It was six football fields in capacity with 20 tons already just laying around and no one was there? It’s not like cannabis almost became legal in Cali. Wait a sec. Sounds like someone was getting ahead of themselves. “You” must think we’re all going to believe whatever you say. Sorry. Delay the inevitable because cannabis will be legal one day.

      What a mad and sad world we truly live in. Educate yourselves and spread the word because we can’t just trust anyone when it comes to the re-legalization of cannabis except for those who respect the truth. Don’t tell me that cannabis can’t go straight from illegal to legal. How did that work with alcohol again? That’s right.

      Anytime, anyone wants to have open and honest dialogue with me about cannabis I will destroy your propaganda and lies. The truth will prevail and the ignorant can go to sleep. If ignorance didn’t exist there would be no need to deal in deceptions.

    8. Dron says:

      sure we all are upset however I think we learned that to legalize it we need more people to learn the actual benifits of this herb and the regulation needs to be better presented GO CALI dont give up yet like has been said it is not if but when we can legally enjoy mj

    9. VC says:

      To pass a movement, an initiative like this you need to go back to the people who said they would vote for it and find out why they didnt. It is logistics, like some of you said, but on a more basic level.
      Ask young kids if they voted, they will say no, they did not, but they wanted it to pass. Find out why, you will hear excuses and reasons, some valid. We need to organize and teach the supporters, most of who have never voted, to receive and send in MAIL IN BALLOTS, that way, if they have to work, have to go to school, or are too damm lazy that day, or just tied up somehow, there vote will still have counted. Many kids I talked to said the same thing, yes, they wanted to vote but they did know where to, they had to work, got to school, etc….VOTING 101 needs to be taught to the supports, I think there was 500,000 supporters out there who did not show.
      Not passing in HUMBOLT County shows how some people are thinking small, that is too bad. Protecting their bottom line to the detriment of society as a whole, good job assholes, all the young kids, convicts in jail with their lives ruined will thank you forever.

    10. intheshedagain says:

      so, the next step is to find out what people who oppose want different in a reasonable prop. that may get it over 50% an we can get over this, damn near hundred year suffication of freedom. how do we get more of the good points of cannabis across to those who just dont know.not only medical( altho important )but,just how our lives are for those who choose to use.oh, and the stupidity about people going to work stoned….how do we update people on saliva testing for work.im all for that.if they can develop a good test for number of hours its truly active in our system, then make damn sure your away from work long enough an get your test anytime. im tired of being hair tested dammit….now, im on our h.r. dept (nicely of course) at a company ive worked for many years. my only goal is to offer enough information to help them change this present form of testing. i was one, that up until they started testing, was” comfortable” with life…but now, life without herb sucks huge. more of us just need to start showing a better image of cannabis to america.we got to stand up for it more…show the ignorant the good side of herb…their are many who think if herb were legal, we would all weigh 300 lbs and destroy couchs every 6 months….please…what say ye….

    11. intheshedagain says:

      well said #95………

    12. Longtime Puffer says:

      Re 250

      As I’ve said before, Rebel, you’re rare & unique. You are living proof that there ARE oldies, if you’ll excuse the term, who smoke (and in some cases voted for 19), tho they are in the vast minority.

      This MAY surprise you, but my dad, who died over 20 years ago, smoked MJ back in the early ’50s in the Air Force (in the Phillippines). He went to college on the GI Bill in the early-mid ’60s, & hung out with bikers, artists & poets, & they’d come over to the house (when I was a small kid) and smoke MJ–that is, until my mom kicked all of his friends out of the house.

      He came to a few of our parties in the ’70s & now and then shared a doobie. I would tell my friends, “Just pass him the joint and don’t stare.”

      I’m positive were he alive today, he’d have voted for 19.

    13. Cire says:

      I’m all for continuing the movement, especially by open & honest education and correcting how cannabis users are perceived.

      But I’m thoroughly convinced of something now, of what I will be doing and what I would encourage all others to do.

      Boycott EMERALD [all about their green] TRIANGLE [for stabbing others in the back] bud wherever possible.

      Boycott DISPENSERS [of DEA ‘justice,’ by proxy] against 19 bud wherever possible.

      Boycott CARTELS [and their U.S. government sponsors] bud wherever possible.

      GROW YOUR OWN!!!Take control of your own health and happiness by taking the time to learn how to grow … it’s a plant! We do not need these people. Dry up their source of power over us – OUR OWN MONEY!

      The information on how to nourish the plant that nourishes you, is widely available. The costs associated with growing are less than purchasing in any market – OVERGROW THE GOVERNMENT and all others who would gladly see us in cages before giving up their ignorance, fear and greed!

      EVERYWHERE YOU ARE – SPREAD THE SEEDS OF CANNABIS HEMP AND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT THEY HOLD FOR US!

    14. long term user says:

      i think that for non supporters and people who hate marijuana users,..should NEVER be allowed to bennefit from it,…
      for over 50 years these people have hated us – the marijuana users,…only users should be allowed to benefit from its use and growth ,..
      users have been descriminated against by the people who hates us,..and now that they change thier monds they want to cash in on it,…after hating us for decades,…
      no dice, no deal,..stop haters and descriminators,…keep it in the mj family

    15. Cire says:

      BTW – I’ve posted the same as above in another forum, and wanted to share my response to anyone trying to justify non-support of Prop 19:

      It was never ONLY about the ‘few thousand’ Grower-voters up there who not only cast a ballot … but played an integral part with all guilty parties, even encouraging others to do so as well.

      Dispensary owners, employees, marketing agents, etc., who continue to maintain shamefully (prohibition-)inflated prices.

      Doctors – some rubber-stamping hangnails for $150.

      And then there’s the Patients … some hurting, and some not so much. Scared into voting NO against THEIR own best interests.

      The Medical Pot INDUSTRY is already corrupted, as it co-exists with the Black Market (and overlaps at times I’m sure). No need for Big Corp. to step in and make medicating/relaxing a risky, and expensive proposition.

      This effort to end COMPLETE PROHIBITION needs every victory it can get, starting last century … and a coalition of supposed CANNABIS-supporters, not to mention PEOPLE-supporters(patients?, responsible adults?) helped sink one of OUR best chances to put a HUGE crack in the wall, for an ENTIRE WORLD waiting for so many FREEDOMS!

      Anyone who did not vote or vote YES on 19 did it for the reasons I mentioned above – fear, ignorance, greed. Or some combination thereof.

      The WAR goes on, thanks to vested interests who support the current prohibition of Cannabis – this inestimable natural gift to ALL OF US – vested interests who hate others and love MONEY(themselves).

      You’ve switched sides. You’ve joined the oppressors.

      And if you’re a farmer who just got caught up in all of this you’re just going to be one more casualty, and by no means the most serious (think: the incarcerated & their families, the targeted minorities and poor, the sick and tired and stressed and depressed …).

      Don’t talk to me about crop prices – we all struggle to survive, some more than others. The freedom to use the Cannabis hemp plant is it’s own issue … not to be confused with U.S. economic policies on farming.

      EXCEPT that opening restrictions on Cannabis for non-medicinal uses would have allowed something wonderful to happen – a start to the experiment of allowing this one plant to revolutionize FOOD, FIBER, FUEL and SHELTER industries (in addition to the medical) – while leading to otherwise unachievable ENVIRONMENTAL gains. All of which means one thing: a better ECONOMY for MORE people than you may even care about.

      Thanks for aiding the continuation of modern slavery.

    16. Paul of the Emerald Triangle says:

      I live in north California where many small and large legal med. growers & users would support personal use, described in the FIRST section of Prop 19 (allows persons over 21: A-possess, share, carry 1 oz anywher; B-grow & possess, live & harvested plants from min. 25 sq ft garden per residence*; C-no sales permitted; consumption must be in private.) !!SEE MY NEXT POST!!
      *State/Local govt. may permit larger garden

    17. Paul of the Emerald Triangle says:

      11/7/10,3:20 pm CONTINUED:
      The SECOND section of Prop 19 is opposed by the few educated souls who read that far into the analysis:
      It allows State and local govt. to authorize, regu-
      late, and tax COMMERCIAL cultivation, processing, distrib., transport., and retail sales, IN ORDER TO RAISE REVENUE and pay for Prop 19 regulatory costs.
      Small, caring producers would be overwhelmed by Big Tobacco and Liquor, who are planning huge grows.

      [Editor’s note: What is your problem with paying taxes on cannabis cultivation and sales? Isn’t that what legalization is? Why should cannabis consumers want to keep paying ineffective and small scale cultivators $150-$500 an ounce for dried vegetable matter that is pennies on the pound produced outdoors and about $1 per gram indoors?

      Why should society continue arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating and drug testing cannabis consumers en mass? To appease currently illegal or ‘medical’ cannabis cultivators and sellers?

      If cannabis consumers don’t want low cost ‘corporate’ cannabis, they can pay more for ‘mom and pop’ veganic cannabis? Why is Cannabis Prohibition (with its crimes against humanity) preferable to the free market?]

    18. Tanker10 says:

      I really hope those cock sucker in the golden whatever the fuck they call it get busted for selling the weed they grow to someone without a card , thats the main reason they don’t want us to enjoy weed they lose all that money they don’t have to pay tax’s on , the person they are growing for pays for them to grow it any thing left the grower sell on the streets. Sorry weed is not legal in Cali . you can’t buy it or sell it without braking the law ,when you get no fine , or jail time then you have got the job done , tell then the fight must go on. So to you cock sucker that live in this golden fucken weed haven I hope someone RIPES you off like you did to us. FUCK YOU !

    19. bodywork says:

      I seems strange to me that such a high percentage of adults in America smoke weed on a daily basis but where are they when it is time to vote? There are so many “closet” smokers out there. I personally have been using for 30 yrs. If you want it you are going to get it. Why can’t the politicians see this? Now at an older age using has made me realize how medicinal pot truly is. Having just recently had back surgery, nothing helps the pain as much as smoking. Go figure!

    20. Anonymous says:

      Some of y’all should do a little reading before you open your mouths. While Prop 19 didn’t pass, the Governor had signed a bill stating that marijuana is decriminalized up to an ounce starting Jan 1. So while the taxation & legalization did not pass, we are still able to enjoy some of the freedom with worrying about going to jail. I say that is a win in my book!

    21. Cire says:

      “Some of y’all should do a little reading before you open your mouths.”

      Some of y’all should do a little THINKING before you open your mouths.

      “While Prop 19 didn’t pass, the Governor had signed a bill stating that marijuana is decriminalized up to an ounce starting Jan 1.”

      The reasons for doing so were at least twofold: the state is broke; and timed to undermine Prop. 19. All it did was acknowledge that most Californians are struggling and suffering (more so than many Pot-Prohibition-Profiteers) and that all anti-19 crusaders were on the same team as sneaky politicians playing a shell game with our freedoms.

      “So while the taxation & legalization did not pass…”

      Yet the $100 fine (just another form of tax) remains upon the cannabis USER, while doctors, growers, suppliers and marketers continue raking in obscene profits.

      “…we are still able to enjoy some of the freedom with worrying about going to jail.”

      So all you want is SOME freedom? Is that because one aspect of that ‘freedom’ is the right to make money off of the blood of others? I’d be interested to know what you do for work “Anonymous”.

      Many people outside of California still do go to jail for this – what about them? We could have BEGUN the end of prohibition for the entire planet – California leads the nation, this nation leads the world.

      “I say that is a win in my book!”

      Again, your problem is that you’re only concerned with YOUR book. Many other people across the world have books with much unhappier endings – they still go to jail and can lose their family & friends, their jobs, homes & possessions, and even their lives.

      These ‘internal’ oppressors have made a local issue out a global one, a personal problem out of a societal one.

    22. Big Red says:

      When the polls up to the day of the election show a close race and then you lose by 9-10% you can count on one thing-VOTE FRAUD! To paraphrase Joe Stalin;I care not who you vote for as long as I count the votes. The electoral process in this country is fraudulent and illegitimate. Wake up and grow up people. You live under a vile tyranny!!

    23. Big Red says:

      P.S. Keep the corporate whores like George Soros out of cannabis production. The editor is shilling for more corporate control and that aint the free market. America was a free enterprise country in the beginning,not a capitalist country. Capitalism is private monopoly. Really sad to see NORML shilling for the corporations and taking money from a corporate ogre like Soros. No wonder NORML has been such an ineffective organization all these years. In my humble opinion you are what is known as controlled opposition! Let’s see if you have the cajones to post this Mr. Armentano!

      [Paul Armentano responds: You have no idea what you are talking about. NORML does not, and has not, received money from George Soros, so you are incorrect on that point. NORML advocates for legalization, and in a legal market both small and large players would compete. And finally, Soros — who you malign — was the driving force behind the passage of Prop. 215, as well as similar laws in numerous other states, like Maine, Oregon, and Washington. But thanks for your post, especially the ‘controlled opposition’ comment. I’m always happy to post publicly the more insane, tinfoil hat comments NORML receives.]

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