What is California Proposition 19 about?



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    Proposition 19 was a proposal to legalize and tax cannabis (marijauna or “pot”) in the state of California.  It was defeated last November. 

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    Prop 19, which was defeated by California voters on November 2nd, would have legalized recreational marijuana use. This would have given local governments the authority to impose and collect fees and taxes relating to the use of marijuana and authorize criminal and civil penalties. Prop 19 would have brought in between $1.2 and $1.4 billion in revenue while adding between 60,000 and 110,000 new jobs in California. The proposition would also have reduced the environmental impact on the state’s public lands caused by illegal cannabis production.

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    California Proposition 19 was voted on to leagalize recreational use of marijuana in California. Critics opposed the proposition on the grounds that although not much is understood about the long term effects of marijuana, it is hypothosized that there is a serious link between chrinic usage and mental disorders and further conclusive study is needed before legalization for public safety reasons. Also, legalization may make it more difficult to maintain a drug free workplace, and the tax revenue from legal sales is not enough to make up for the potential dangers, critics say. Although it was voted down, the closeness of the race as well as sheer voter turnout is considered a small victory for the marijuana legalization movement, and another effort is said to take place in 2012.


    The second link does belong to a wiki (ballotpedia), but seems to be a very comprehensive overview of the bill as well as surrounding enacted laws.

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    Another interesting tidbit about prop 19 is the unlikely adversaries it faced. As you may be aware, California has a legalized network of producers and sellers (called dispensaries or collectives) for medical cannabis use. These people opposed Prop 19 because they believed that larger factory producers and sellers would decimate their market share, killing their businesses. Additionally, under current laws, these producers are not subject to the taxes and other obstacles to profitability that Prop 19 would have installed, creating another incentive for these groups to make attempts to defeat the bill.

    Additionally, some medical marijuana users opposed the bill because it contained a clause that specifically prohibited public consumption. For some, marijuana use is a necessity for managing constant pain and maintaining an appetite. These patients would be severely inhibited in their daily activities if use of the drug could only take place in private settings.

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