This one, known as ''Prop. 19'', decided whether or not Californians would be allowed to grow, possess, and use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes. It turns out that Prop. 19 is a no-go. Not surprising to many, the bill was supported by those youngest of voters, San Francisco, the NAACP and some police chiefs. Others, however, and likely the groups that had the big numbers, wanted no part of seeing pot being possessed or smoked in public. They included both the feds and some California law enforcement agencies. In fact, so strong was the collective federal law enforcement
community's dislike of the possibility, it said it would continue to enforce anti drug laws, regardless of the outcome.
Had the bill passed, local governments would have then been allowed to approve and/or regulate pot growing operations and any subsequent sales. It would have also meant California would have been the first state to legalize pot. Those who supported Prop 19 say it would have meant a rich source of tax revenue and could have reduced crime related to marijuana.
The warnings issued by those who did not support the measure say they can rest easy now knowing that ''legal chaos'' and ''pot smokers who get behind the wheel and show up to work while high'' are no longer a consideration, at least, from a legal/illegal activity stance.
The bill was defeated by nine percentage points. Some who supported the bill were so confident that they showed up at polls, along with their joints and lighters, to celebrate the occasion. Turns out, they were celebrating an issue a bit too early - and unnecessarily. They now blame older voters who participate in midterm elections for defeating the measure. They also, albeit hesitantly, agree the younger voters did not turn out in the numbers they'd hoped to see. The California director for the Drug Policy Project, Stephen Gutwillig, says the moment was historic nonetheless and he remains confident that the measure will land again on the ballets in 2012.
Those conservatives have spoken too. In fact, they have a lot to say, including the fact they ''went pretty hard on the Democratic side'' and that if supporters believe another measure will pass in two years, ''they must be smoking something''. Indeed they are.