Marijuana Legalization Efforts Fail in California, Thanks to Money and The Feds

Categories: Marijuana
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With the assist
Few successful political movements count their finest hours a loss. Yet 2010 will remain the high-water mark of the marijuana legalization movement for at least another two years -- or longer, if the federal situation worsens.

Buoyed by Oaksterdam University founder Richard Lee's cash and energy, Proposition 19 -- which would have legalized possession of up to 1 ounce of pot for adults 21 and over, and allowed cultivation of small gardens -- lost in November 2010. It garnered a historic 4.6 million votes, or 46.2 percent of ballots cast. Following the loss, Lee declared on election night that legalization was inevitable, and that the issue would return in 2012 "stronger than ever" with a new ballot measure.

While Lee bowed out -- and the Prop. 19 redux committee instead focused on reforming medical marijuana -- the 2012 election cycle began with four competing legalization measures.

But the inevitable became official on Friday, when all committees missed the deadline to qualify their initiatives for the November ballot.

So now we have to wait until 2014, and pray the movement finds a new leader -- and new benefactor.

To qualify for the ballot, would-be liberators of the magic plant needed to collect over 500,000 valid signatures and submit them to the Secretary of State by April 20.

Of the failed efforts, one -- Regulate Marijuana Like Wine -- came closest, according to proponent Steve Kubby, a South Lake Tahoe-based activist. That measure managed to collect about 200,000 signatures, Kubby said on Monday. Other efforts, including Repeal Cannabis Prohibition, which was sponsored by a coterie of attorneys in Mendocino County and the Bay Area, waved the surrender flag much earlier.

"We're full steam ahead for 2014," said Kubby. "Some of the funders are telling us that [donating then] won't be a problem."

As for Prop. 19's successor committee, it also withdrew its efforts well before the deadline. A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, (D-San Francisco) is nearly identical to that bill and is in committee in Sacramento.

So what killed the legalization movement? Money, mostly.

In 2010, the federal government helped defeat Prop. 19: In the weeks before the election, Attorney General Eric Holder warned that if the measure passed, his Justice Department would "vigorously enforce" federal drug laws. That had a cooling effect -- as did U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag's shot sent across the bows of Oakland and other cities eager to cash in on legal weed. Haag also said that Prop. 19's passage would mean lots of work for federal drug enforcement.

In Bay Area marijuana circles, Haag is seen as somewhere between the bogeyman and evil incarnate for her office's participation in a statewide crackdown on the medical marijuana industry. It's a near certainty that the closures of hundreds of dispensaries across the state by the feds had some kind of effect -- which would have been moot in the face of money.

The legalization efforts' need for cash was never a secret. Initiatives sponsors went as far as to issue a public plea for pot-supporting billionaires to open their hearts, but mostly their wallets, and come up with the estimated $2 million needed to collect upwards of 700,000 signatures of registered California voters. But nobody -- not the Facebook moguls who threw down for Prop. 19, nor Prop. 215 savior George Soros -- would pony up. And that was merely to put the measure on the ballot. Actually running -- and winning -- a campaign would take another $2 million.

Meanwhile, Lee's influence has all been neutralized. Well before the federal government relieved him of his business, he abdicated his throne as the movement's de-facto leader. He'd spent his life savings -- about $1.5 million -- and an untold effort on Prop. 19. It was someone else's turn, he later told reporters.

"The polling wasn't really positive," Lee said on a conference call with reporters last week. "But what's really overwhelming right now is the federal issue."

Right. Many marijuana supporters speculate that the crackdown will lessen once President Barack Obama is reelected in the fall. And if he isn't? Well, you may be able to wistfully tell your grandkids about the wonder that was 2010.

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55 comments
fedup
fedup

I was born in the early sixties. Back then I heard a lot of talk about freedom, love and our rights and fighting for them, protesting in the streets to the point of using violence to get our point across. But it is not like this anymore. I rarely hear of freedom and the old saying, "Don't tread on me!" This country was built on freedom and it is dying slowly. America home of the free and the brave, but is it all going away from us now. It seems we are now cowering with our tails between our legs to do what big daddy the babysitting government tells us to do. I find myself today in a world of greed where more and more money just is not enough and I can't breath, we are all getting tired and angry. I am waiting for the day it cuts loose and we take to the streets but not toward each other...   Something is not right, something is wrong! To me it is not the fact that this marijuana plant is illegal. To me I simply just don't understand it because I know this plant is a God given plant and is no less harmful than...um...milk. What the hell is up with our government? Nixon and his tactics to bash this wonderful gift god gave us and it is just dragging on through the decades. "Oh but it's a stepping stone and you will be a heroin addict soon if you smoke marijuana!" Well I tried the old alcohol first in my teen years and wrenched my guts out laying on the floor, begging for it to pass and swearing never to do this again and finally passing out. And I woke the next morning feeling like someone was inside my head swinging a baseball bat around my brain. Yes people, Al Cohall or whatever his name is was my (SO CALLED) stepping stone.      Alcohol is legal but kiddies you will puke like a heroin addict if you do to much. Mr. Al Cohall will do things to you just as the hardest drugs will do to you. Al Cohall is liquid dope and is a hard drug so get it through your head. Marijuana is NOT a hard drug, or is it even a drug? If you call caffeine a drug then I suppose it compares except marijuana will not make you jitter nor does it kill you. So America go enjoy your liquid dope, Mr. Al Cohall and some of you will kill yourselves with it just like a heroin junkie! Yes I am comparing you to that so put it in your vein and shoot it!   Marijuana smokers are getting fed up with the B.S. 

John Stuart
John Stuart

Again, your spin sucks. Obama has not done anything to help 215 patients! Obama is not going to help anyone who wants to use cannabis in the future!   Haven't you figured it out, Romney and Obama SUCK!    WHY CAN'T WE GIVE RON PAUL A CHANCE?  I know a whole lot of people that would "WRITE HIS NAME IN" even if he don't win and they throw it in the trash with the other 21,000  votes that were mysteriously lost.  America needs to unite and fight for freedom once again from it's own government.  The masses of the people have the power if they would only stand together and decide to act as one at the same time.      I hope an army of citizens march for Ron Paul, I would jump at the chance to join a Paul march. Go Ron Paul, help him give the power back to YOU and Me.

Jose
Jose

The only way it makes sense that the coke-snorting pot-head Obama is waging war against marijuana is because his thugs are making a killing on the black market.

Johnnie Dorman
Johnnie Dorman

If we want president Obama to deal with the legalization of Marijuana and hemp, we have to first give him the power to do so. The president gets a lot of resistance from these slaves to their own cause (prohibitionists). They also have grown quite fond of all the money they get by and from milking it off of the middle class and the poor, via their government sponsored license to hijack the people's rights. Live I've said before, "all a cop has to do is say, "I smell pot," whether the cop smells it or not, and your constitutional right to privacy is "vamoose!"

MeritMan
MeritMan

How Ironic is it that Marijuana supporter's best chances lie with a Republican Majority and President that will get the economy re-started and cash flowing again. Then more people will have the ability to invest in a future campaign.

If the Marijuana lobby is serious about law reform then they are going to have to take a chance on the party they've never even tried to court.

Other than that advice, I really don't give a fuck because I have not smoked (or inhaled it) since '95.

Alfredo 'Al' Nava
Alfredo 'Al' Nava

As terrible as Mr. Romney could be as President of the U.S., President Obama needs to lose as a teaching moment to his unfettered attack upon our Civil Liberties. I'd rather deal with 4 years of Romney as the known enemy rather than Obama as a back-stabbing pseudo-friend. I'm voting third Party! 

Scott
Scott

What possible indication could you have to suggest that a Barack Obama defeat would be a negative for the legalization effort? Do not actions speak louder than words? As horrible as it might seem, the fact (based on actual actions and activities) is that had George Bush been re-elected, the cannabis industry would have had a better time of it.

I am not advocating support for George Bush. What I am saying is that Obama has NOT been this industry's friend.

In fact, a vote for a candidate that felt more comfortable about states rights over federal rights would probably be a positive for states like CA, WA, CO and others who want responsibility for their own destiny in this matter.

Leo
Leo

here is my conclusion, as WE the people should have more power than the government right? isnt that in the Constituion? The people have voices in governement. so how about if yall want weed to be legalized, get off of your fatasses and start changing the gov. but now it seems like Obama is changing the gov to be a big... if he gets re-elected, im telling you we are going to end up being called comrads instead of citizens and obama will become the dictator.

MaddGamerz
MaddGamerz

isnt there a way to get obama out of office

Marie Matt
Marie Matt

In the US alone, enforcement of cannabis prohibition costs taxpayers around $10 billion each year. If it was taxed and controlled like alcohol, cannabis sales could generate an estimated $6.2 billion in yearly tax revenue. Cannabis has also been shown to ease symptoms of people with HIV/AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and many other medical issues. It has been successfully used to TREAT nausea, appetite issues, glaucoma, muscle spasms, and many other types of pain. In 2010, nearly 45,000 Americans were serving time in state and federal prisons for nonviolent cannabis possession. In that same year, over 700,000 Americans were arrested for the same crime. The estimated total cost to the taxpayers is $9,000,000,000

The arguments for weed are endless: (1) It's impossible to overdose and there is no hangover; (2) People don't get violent when they are on weed like they do on alcohol; (3) Its smoke is not carcinogenic (cancer-causing) like cigarette smoke (and even if that were an issue you can eat it in brownies or use a vaporizer) (4) It's cheaper than alcohol; (5) It's much safer to drive on than alcohol; (6) Many successful people have smoked or still do smoked weed (many Presidents of the United States, famous scientists such as Carl Sagan, and countless musicians, writers and artists; (7) It's not physically addictive (it's really only addictive in the sense that fun is addictive, fun is addictive in many things besides weed), some people get addicted to television for example); (8) It's no more of a gateway drug than alcohol (most pot smokers eventually end of quitting having over done any other drug besides alcohol).

Thus, I think marijuana should be legalized.http://bigbudsmag.com/grow/gea...

Bobby Meadows Jr
Bobby Meadows Jr

Ron Paul is the only one running for POTUS that will fight for us Obama would rather put u in jail or in a hospital just for a plant might as will arrest you for having trees on your property they are more harmful the weed is they fall on people almost everyday and kill them deaths from weed 0

AnnOnaMice
AnnOnaMice

It doesn't matter if the club owners, growers, workers, the small businesses in local and rural economies  that benefit, and all those happy getting ripped of for weed at ridiculous prices are happy with the way it is now... They blew their chance by not seeing the "bigger picture."

Eventually the "Sheriff" is going to come to town (actually the whole state), and shut down everyone in the business. They'll take state records, local records, license information, look at satellite information, and other intelligence, and simply hand everyone the paper, from shop owner, to grower, to landlords and property owners wherever the "business" was transacted... surrender all your money, your land, and a significant portion of your liberty (the plea bargain), or face the total wrath of what you can fight, but never hope to really win and keep both your hands.

Then they can all vote to make it legal.

carllafong
carllafong

Enter the Why I Like Weed video contest. 45 sec or less and the top three share $10,000. The top 10 will appear in the upcoming comedy film Gone to Pot. Celeb judges. Facebook page is gonetopotmovie.

Portland Democrat
Portland Democrat

Time to elect Gov. Gary Johnson! Make 2012 historic as America elects the first Libertarian President.

Shavluk
Shavluk

As I said then we can always improve Prop 19 but if it doesnt pass we may never get another chance like it

Comechain-at clubs... growers and exploiters of this plant and their greed killed it

Oh some gave this reason or that and I knew then we were screwed for a long time It was like these idiots under estimated what it actually took to get it to the vote and as they found fault in it for silly reasons never looking at the big picture the rest of the world  will now all pay

Shame on you fools

You know who you are you who argued against Prop 19 I hope you are satisfied ?

Your perfect Proposition has as expected failed to see the light of dayBut then none of you will ever  raise the money only pull down someone who did

 

Indigojoe7
Indigojoe7

there's still a big push in california to implement jack herer's initiative! here's the link....cchhi2012.org

www.cchhi2012.org

drBCayenneBird
drBCayenneBird

There is hope, the Calif. Cannabis Hemp Health Initiative 2012 is still underway, in full swing with professional signature gatherers out there and 500 advertisers of LA Jemm Magazine with petitions all over the State. Plus there are teams of volunteers gathering. The deadline for 2014 qualification is June 5, 2012. Let's all push on this one which is very much alive.  Donate here, http://www.cchhi2012.org/donat...  - sign up to help gather signatures here https://www.facebook.com/group...

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

The War on Drugs failed $1 Trillion ago! Thismoney could have been used for outreach programs to clean up the bad end ofdrug abuse by providing free HIV testing, free rehab, and clean needles.Harmless drugs like marijuana could be legalized to help boost our damagedeconomy. Cannabis can provide hemp for countless natural recourses and the taxrevenue from sales alone would pull every state in our country out of the red!Vote Teapot, PASS IT, and legalize it. Voice you opinion with the movement andread more on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...  

Ender Wiggin
Ender Wiggin

umm, the high water mark for cali maybe, but i'm under the impression that WA and CO both are likely to vote on legalization this year.

Jose
Jose

7. Petitioner will cite an opinion US v. Arizona No. 10-16645D.C. No. 2:10-cv-01413-SRB, where US Attorney General EricHolder cited 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g) “Performance ofimmigration officer functions by State officers andemployees,” as an example of how Congress has set forththe conditions upon which state officials are permitted toassist the Executive in the enforcement of Federalimmigration laws.

Nordle420
Nordle420

Who writes this bulshit, the last paragraph is total propaganda.The puppet of Barack Obama should be put back in the toy box to never see day light again and the puppet masters ignored, fuck the FED off. Take a giant leap for man and stoner kind and vote Ron Paul he is the key. BTW I'm from the UK, what the USA do we always follow so please voteFor Ron Paul

Dustin Neumann
Dustin Neumann

Vote Ron Paul and end the fucking FED already .. Man i don't understand how you think voting EITHER fucking pandering side is gonna get you results.

Vote for the ONLY candidate that will fight for YOU!

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

Apart from the fact that legal drugs kill far more people than all the illegal drugs combined, debating whether a particular drug is harmless or not is missing the whole point. Are drugs like Heroin, Meth or Alcohol dangerous? It simply doesn't matter, because if we prohibit them then we sure as hell know that it makes a bad situation far worse. If someone wants to attempt to enhance or destroy their lives with particular medicines or poisons, that should be their business, not anybody else's. Their lives aren't ours to direct. And anyway, who wants to give criminals, terrorists and corrupt law enforcement agents a huge un-taxed, endless revenue stream?

A great many of us are slowly but surely wising up to the fact that the best avenue towards realistically dealing with drug use and addiction is through proper regulation which is what we already do with alcohol & tobacco, clearly two of our most dangerous mood altering substances. But for those of you whose ignorant and irrational minds traverse a fantasy plane of existence, you will no doubt remain sorely upset with any type of solution that does not seem to lead to your absurd and unattainable utopia of a drug free society. 

Ben Kirksey
Ben Kirksey

Screw Obama, and anyone retarded enough to support him, you think he's gonna legalize it? He's flat out said that he will not even consider legalization and has already done more damage in four years than his predecessor did in eight

Kalonakitu
Kalonakitu

EFFORTS ARE STILL ALIVE AND WELL!!!  PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK TO FIND OUT WHERE YOU CAN SIGN A PETITION TO GET LEGALIZATION ON THE BALLOT IN 2014!!! We only have until JUNE 1ST, 2012 to gather signatures for California:

http://www.cchhi2012.org/index... 

Vet
Vet

It look like vacation time again for our leaders, I wish our military could say ,lets chill, till 2014. No shortage of money for troops and war, since vietnam. Progress in the wrong direction for all. Shucks again.

Rodneyplya
Rodneyplya

Its all gud well keep using and consume marijuana F them. Never will they stop us NEVER.

Klaus Vorman
Klaus Vorman

The legalization movement and the Feds response reminds me of the Vietnam conflict (War). The Federal Government was all more guns more troops, and the people opposed it. The Federal Government told them to "shut up we know whats best for you."

Same with this issue the people want and the Fed decides to do are not the same. People need the opportunity to vote on this issue because our elected official care more about getting funding for their war machine and what lobbyist say and give to their election campaigns

Cheri Sicard
Cheri Sicard

I do not understand why people in the movement keep touting the reelection of Obama as the cure.  Look at his record on this issue, it's worse than Bush's.  Clinton too was worse than his republican predecessor.  Democrats unfortunately are no more your friends on this issue than Republicans.  I have no reason to trust he will do the right thing in another term, none whatsoever. 

Ben_Murk
Ben_Murk

Vote for Gary Johnson he got the independent nomination. 

Leo
Leo

Ron Paul! listen and lets stop Obama (O.M.G.) Obama Must GO! and btw Obama is going to screw the gas and oil companies. WE THE PEOPLE! NOT we the Gov.!

Lunarcat
Lunarcat

 YEAH, vote Ron Paul &/or Gary Johnson - what a ticket that would be.  That would be the Dream Ticket for 2012 ! 

Ben_Murk
Ben_Murk

This is like 'worst case scenario' but if Washington State gets their measure passed, it would be harder to come down that hard on California - which is the eventual plan. 

TheCannabisWhistler
TheCannabisWhistler

I like Johnson, but let's be realistic.  He doesn't stand a chance of winning.

Instead, why not throw your vote where it can actually make a difference?  Vote for Ron Paul!!  I am actually re-registering to vote in order to change my party registration so I can vote for Ron Paul in the primary in California.  If your state hasn't yet had their primaries, I recommend you do the same... 

Shavluk
Shavluk

sorry above make that ""comecashin-at clubs"""

thanks

Lunarcat
Lunarcat

 Let us pray....................

Gopal Rao
Gopal Rao

I think it was Sandra Day O'Connor who once said that the states should serve as a laboratory for testing the limits of Federal authority.

Hopefully, several states will organize significant legalization movements to put that ideal to the test. 

Duncan20903
Duncan20903

Are definitely going to vote on it, those referenda have been certified by their respective Secretaries of State.

Mr. Roberts is most certainly myopic if he thinks California is the epicenter of the re-legalization movement. As well as Colorado and Washington there are 21 States with pending referenda in the process of signature gathering.

California or not 2012 is going to top 2010s efforts by a wide margin. You folks had your chance and blew it.

pfroehlich2004
pfroehlich2004

Damn right. And Oregon is pretty close to getting a measure on the ballot as well.

Johnnie Dorman
Johnnie Dorman

Well Written, " malcolmkyle," I have said many of the things you said here. All the drug war amounts to is a scam on American citizens. We all know that all a cop has to do in order to unconstitutionally harass you, is to say, "I smell Marijuana," whether the cop really smells Marijuana or not, and they can from that point take away your right to privacy. Prohibition on any recreational drug is just plain stupid, it is about as logical as poring gasoline on a fire.

Pat Pardis
Pat Pardis

Absolutely right,  the only difference being we marched in the streets 30 and 40 thousand at a time against the Vietnam war.  They could not ignore us.  There is so much fear and intimidation coming from the feds that people are scared,  they are afraid to march for what they believe because of the fear of retribution.  Democracy and freedom a farce.

TheCannabisWhistler
TheCannabisWhistler

I agree.  Ron Paul is the only sensible choice for anyone who cares about this issue or any other issue of human rights and/or civil rights.  Obama and Romney are both almost identical to Bush in their policies.  (Only Obama is actually WORSE than Bush!  As you pointed out.)

Obama lied to us.  He promised multiple times he was going to "...direct my policymakers to be guided by science and common sense, not politics and ideology..." on the issue of marijuana.  And yet multiple Federal agencies under his authority are raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in California at an alarming rate, waging a costly Federal war against the people of our state.

I hope my fellow Californians wake up and smell the bullshit that is coming out of Obama's lying mouth, and do it soon.  Time is running out to register as a Republican so we can vote for Ron Paul in the primaries.  Only a few weeks left, as of right now.  It makes me vomit at the thought of registering Republican, but Ron Paul is right about almost everything he says, and his record proves he is a man of his word.

Not a crooked liar like Obama.

Jose
Jose

The coke sniffing pot head Obama is representative of the typical slave trader of the 18th century except now he puts slaves into prisons and forces them to work in the increasingly lucrative prison slave-labor system.

Lunarcat
Lunarcat

 Impeachment !  Rep Jones, NC REP, is supposed to have initiated something in case Obama decides to overide Congress & invade Syria.  Love C -span.

TheCannabisWhistler
TheCannabisWhistler

That precept is especially appropriate when viewed within the context of how alcohol prohibition ended.  It was one state at a time, until finally the Federal house of cards had no choice but to crumble.

The same thing will happen with marijuana.  The Federal government will never back down in this game of chicken until we, the people, vote within our states, and hit them head on.

Part of the reason Prop 19 failed is because so many people said, "Yea, but look, the Fed is just going to crack down on us, this isn't going to do any good."  That is absolutely incorrect thinking.  But unfortunately, people are all too willing to roll over and say "Oh well, not much we can do."

In my opinion, for this very reason, any state legalization initiative should include verbiage requiring the State to sue the Federal government to reschedule marijuana, because then people can't say "Well yea, sure I want to vote to legalize, but then what about Federal law?"  I'll tell you what.  Fuck federal law!  Keeping marijuana improperly classified is nothing but an illegal lie anyway, just look at the 1988 ruling by the DEA's own administrative judge Francis L. Young, who ruled that the government is REQUIRED by law to take marijuana out of Schedule I.  (Of course the DEA pretended that ruling never happened.  They quietly ignored their own judge and instead continued wasting billions more of our tax dollars ever since.)

People need to vote to legalize in their own States, and the rest will happen in due time.  This is the only way it's ever going to happen!

Gopal Rao
Gopal Rao

Actually O'Connor was quoting Louis Brandeis' dissenting opinion from New State Ice vs Liebmann.

"a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country..." 

Lunarcat
Lunarcat

 And Connecticut just passed their bill - hurray !

pfroehlich2004
pfroehlich2004

Why march in the street when you have direct democracy? Californians who want to end marijuana prohibition can put the issue to a popular vote. That's a lot more effective than street theater.

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

So stop voting for the pseudodemos pelosi boxer feinsten et al

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Uh, we already did that several times, and so did other states, whose fault is it congresscritters don't listen?  Who votes them in?

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