Yeah! We lose on Prop 19 110310
The Fringe on the relief of defeat
Prop 19 got its butt thoroughly kicked yesterday, and am I ever glad. The old cops and old hippies got together to keep things the way they are.
They weren’t alone. Richard Lee, cannabis liberation activist, is also a medical marijuana provider; he started the campaign and contributed to Prop 19 heavily. But, hundreds of medical marijuana producers and retailers worked hard against Prop 19, telling their customers that Prop 19 would reduce the rights they have now. Dennis Peron, leader in Prop 215, the medical marijuana initiative, came out strongly against Prop 19.
It’s true that medical users would lose under Prop 19. As I’ve stated in past editorials, cannabis is as free now as it is possible to be in the United States of Corporatopia. Prop 19 would have had some positive effects: counties could have recovered some of their lost revenues, which is why 15 counties supported it, and it would have been harder for cops to search your car because they “smelled marijuana”.
I’ll suggest it was not the conservative voter, but cannabis users, who ultimately beat Prop 19.
I was cited by pro-cannabis friends for being “fatalistic” in supporting Prop 19. It would have turned something that is verdant and should be free or very inexpensive into something adulterated with flavors and burning agents and then harnessed up to make money for the worst of the worst, corporations and politicians. One 64 year old life-long cannabis user I know said “It’s making the goddess whore for you.” And, in fact, except for a handful of old cops and the Dissenting Editor, most anti-cannabis people I knew cared less about the failure of Prop 19 than the pro-cannabis people I know.
The numbers on Prop 19 are interesting. Statewide the numbers look like they’re going to settle about here: (All are % and none are final.)
In conservative Sierra County, the numbers were:
In the Emerald Triangle counties, where the Krug Clos Du Mesnil of cannabis is grown, and where the legitimate and illegitimate economies both rely on cannabis, the results are:
As can be seen from the chart, Humboldt and Mendocino voters were nearly identical to all voters in the state, and “conservative” Sierra County reported only slightly higher “no” rates than the state rate. Considering how differently Sierra County voted on other significant offices and issues, Prop 19 did quite well here.
Is Sierra County Conservative?
The Mid-term elections generally have an older and whiter, therefore more conservative electorate. However, on the issue of cannabis legalization, it would be younger voters who would be more likely to approve. It is possible Prop 19 might have passed in a general election, but probably not. The old cops couldn’t stop it alone, but the medical growers, distributors and users, and the old hippies, could.
My only regret is we don’t get to thumb our nose at the feds. Holder! Get to work!
What’s ahead? Very likely another Prop 19 type attempt. There are problems, though.
One of the unforeseen consequences for legalization of Prop 215 is the creation of a class of commerce which doesn’t see the opportunity for expansion in full legalization. On the other hand, middle class and conservative voters won’t support a bill that doesn’t include all kinds of over-regulation and taxation. Gotta protect the children, you know.
Further, there are a lot of old hippie voters who were, like old cops, content to let cannabis use be the symbol of “us and them”. They stand to gain very little with legalization, since most of them have arthritis now and can get a script for cannabis, and they don’t want to see it suddenly “owned by the man.”
It used to be said that pot would be legal when all the WWII era voters were dead. It now looks might not be legal until all the old hippies are dead.