Prop 19 Legalization Leads; Opponents Try To Revive Campaign


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‚ÄčOpponents of Proposition 19 — which would legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana for adults in California — are desperately trying to revive their cash-strapped campaign amid signs that public sentiment is turning more and more in favor of the initiative.

“We’re telling folks who are opposed, ‘If we’re going to get our message out, we need additional resources,’ ” said Roger Salazar, spokesman for No On Proposition 19, reports Michael Montgomery at CaliforniaWatch.
The campaign against Prop 19 has so far been financially anemic, raising less than $160,000 in contributions for all of this year, according to required campaign finance disclosures as of September 30.
Meanwhile, supporters of the cannabis legalization initiative have raised more than $860,000 this year, led by Oakland marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee.

Whether for financial reasons or due to a simple lack of enthusiasm, the campaign against marijuana legalization has a low profile in the Golden State, with just seven No On Proposition 19 events scheduled in the entire state for October, according to the group’s own website.
Salazar claimed the campaign had been successful in “individual outreach,” pointing to clueless, big-name politicians who have lined up against the initiative and newspaper editorials also opposing marijuana legalization.
But the voters don’t really seem to be listening much to the anti-pot talk. A September 26 Field Poll [PDF] showed the initiative leading by seven points, with a 49 percent to 42 percent margin. The latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows the initiative ahead with majority support, 52 percent supporting it and 42 percent opposing it. Those polls contrast with a poll taken back in July that showed Prop 19 losing, 48 percent to 44 percent.
Salazar admitted that the vote had become “pretty tight,” but claimed an “aggressive few weeks” in October would undermine popular support for the measure.
He refused to give specifics, but sources close to the anti-marijuana campaign claimed they were hoping for a bipartisan push in the final weeks of the campaign, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other heavy hitters speaking out forcefully against Prop 19 and warning of a dire confrontation with the federal government if California legalizes pot.
Opponents are also trying to shake down law enforcement for additional dollars, citing the latest poll numbers showing Prop 19 in the lead. Salazar still claims it’s “unclear” whether there will be enough funds to buy any airtime on television.
Tim Rosales, campaign manager for No On Proposition 19, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the new decrim law signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger “takes away the last reason anyone would have to vote for Prop 19,” because it removes the argument that the state’s marijuana laws cost too much to enforce.
I call bullshit. Until marijuana is fully legal — legal, as in legal — decriminalization, and Prop 19, are nothing more than steps along the way.