The meaning of Proposition 19 for Los Angeles



Wandering the Venice Boardwalk, it might be easy to image a Los Angeles where marijuana is legal and easily available. But while Proposition 19 might have seemed like an easy pass in California — the state home to the hippy movement, first to reduce the maximum penalty for possession of marijuana and first to allow it to be grown and consumed for medical purposes — the reality is a little more complicated.

A poll conduced by the Los Angeles Times/USC on Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in California, shows opposition at 51 percent. Of the 441 likely voters polled by telephone, 39 percent support the measure. The poll also hints at the complex divisions between various demographic groups.

Men, for example, are undecided on the issue, while women are more likely to vote against it. Republicans “overwhelmingly” opposed Proposition 19, while the legalization of marijuana is supported by most Democrats and Independents. According to the poll, voters under the age of 40 are more likely to support Proposition 19 with 48 percent indicating a “yes” vote, while 59 percent of older voters opposed it. Only 28 percent of voters 65 and older supported Prop. 19. According to the LA Times/USC poll, Latino voters opposed the legalization of marijuana 2 to 1. White voters also opposed the measure in majority.

Support for Proposition 19 also depends on where you live in California, according to the poll. Researchers found that Proposition 19 was “leading only in the Central Coast counties and running far behind in the largely conservative Central Valley and in Southern California.”

Left: A celebration of marijuana at UC Santa Cruz on April 20, or “4/20,” courtesy of IndyBay

So, who might be most likely to vote for the passage of Proposition 19? A left-leaning, twenty-something male from Santa Cruz.

And least likely? A right-leaning woman in her late 60s from Bakersfield.

But what about in Los Angeles? This politically and ethnically diverse city could go either way on the vote. What would Los Angeles be like as a city with legal weed?

To begin with, smoking in public would still be illegal. Individuals would be able to carry up to an ounce without breaking the law. Lighting up in front of minors would be a big no-no, and so would driving. However, roadside impairment testing is extremely difficult for police, which may be considered cause for concern. What about the cost to buy marijuana? Well, pot could actually get cheaper. According to the Rand Drug Policy Research Center, the price of marijuana could drop significantly, by as much as 80 percent if legalized. Questions remain as to how much revenue sale and taxation of marijuana would bring into the state, and whether or not anti-marijuana laws would be enforced at a federal level.

How are you planning to vote on Proposition 19? Let us know in the comments box below.

Proposition 19 lacks funds, not buzz


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A recent poll by the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California shows that 51 percent of California voters oppose legalizing marijuana.

With just a week away from voting time, the Yes on 19 campaign says it is stepping up its efforts.

But both campaign sides have had little capital compared to other campaigns this election cycle. With less money, the campaign is focusing on reaching voters online instead of on televesion.

Recently, the campaign for legalizing marijuana just got a monetary push from investor George Soros. He donated $1 million to the Drug Policy Alliance.

Stephen Gutwillig is one of the alliance’s spokespersons. He declined to give details about Soros and the donation. He did say, however, that the alliance plans on using the money for voter mobilization and public education.

It is a little late in the game to film and televise advertisements. So far, there is only one pro-legalization marijuana advertisement done by the Yes on 19 campaign.

Tom Angell is the spokesperson for Yes on 19. He says the advertisement originally played in Los Angeles, but it recently expanded to Bakersfield, Fresno and Chico. The campaign also purchased a “predicted dialer.” That is a gadget that calls about five people at once, and when someone picks up the phone, it connects to a volunteer.

Their so-called “grassroots campaign” will be focusing more on communication though Facebook and blogs. They also signed up hundreds of volunteers to man the phones. Expect a phone call this week.

Supporters high on Prop 19


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Many leaders in the medical marijuana community met at City Hall Tuesday to endorse Proposition 19.

With just a few weeks before California voters cast their ballots on Nov. 2, the group is confident the proposition will pass.

“In essence, what we believe is that California is going to make the right decision to end prohibition of cannabis because it’s a failed policy,” said Jeff Jones, a long-time activist for medical marijuana and co-proponent of the campaign “Yes on Proposition 19.”

Jones and the others said they believe the prohibition leads to higher costs for legal medical users. Legalizing the drug, on the other hand, would allow adults over 21 to grow the cannabis themselves. This, in turn, would make it more accessible for patients.

However, opposition against this initiative stands strong.

“Proposition 19 is such a jumbled, flawed, legal nightmare,” said Tim Rosales, who is the campaign manager of “No on Proposition 19.”

One of his main concerns is, if the measure passes, drivers will be able to drive while under the substance.

“There is no test or standard, like the 0.08 for alcohol,” Rosales said. “And therefore, law enforcement would have no way to judge whether or not someone is impaired behind the wheel because of marijuana.”