California Pot Initiative (Prop. 19) Still Leading In Latest Poll
A majority of Californians continue to voice their support for Prop. 19 -- which would eliminate penalties for the private possession and use of marijuana by adults, and allow local governments to regulate retail cannabis production and sales. According to the most recent Survey USA poll (conducted August 9-11), 50 percent of likely voters in California say they are certain to vote 'yes' on Proposition 19 versus 40 percent who say that they will vote 'no.' These totals are the same as reported by Survey USA one month ago, and indicate that voters' support is holding steady despite increased attacks and propaganda from our opponents. (NORML Outreach Coordinator Russ Belville has just posted an excellent rebuttal to many of our opponents' more outrageous claims here.) According to the latest polling data, voters age 35 to 49 are most likely to back Prop. 19, and African Americans and self-reported Democrats are more likely to support the measure as compared to other groups. (To read why self-proclaimed 'conservative' voters ought to vote yes on Prop. 19, please see my recent op/ed in the Orange County Register here.) On Friday, leaders from the Latino Voters League held a press conference in Los Angeles announcing their support for Prop. 19, joining the state NAACP which had previously announced their 'unconditional support' for the measure in June. Predictably, many members of law enforcement continue to speak out against the measure. Yet, as you can see in my recent rebuttal to three Bay area police chiefs, their rhetoric rings hollow. In fact, even those in the media who oppose Prop. 19 are beginning to question the rhetoric and tactics of LEOs. Fortunately, editors at several prominent California papers are giving ample editorial space to getting out the facts regarding Prop. 19. Recently, I've had op/eds published in the San Jose Mercury News ("Critics of Prop. 19 on marijuana rely on fear, not facts"), The Los Angeles Times ("Feinstein's misguided opposition to marijuana legalization"), and The Ventura County Star ("Media's coverage of report spurs reefer madness") setting the record straight. Bottom line: The status quo in California for non-medical patients is an abysmal failure. California lawmakers criminalized the possession and use of marijuana in 1913 yet right now in California, the federal government reports that one out of 10 people annually use marijuana and together consume about 1.2 million pounds of it. Self-evidently, cannabis is here to stay. Let's address this reality and end the practice of arresting 70,000+ Californians each year for minor marijuana possession and/or cultivation charges, and lets stop ceding control of the commercial marijuana market to unregulated, untaxed criminal enterprises and put it in the hands of licensed businesses. Proposition 19 is a first, significant step in this direction.