Could Latinos Snuff Out Pot Legalization?


Latinos have been depicted as having an intimate and historic relationship with marijuana. Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa and his men are said to have smoked pot and brought it with them when they crossed the border, helping to inspire American prohibition early last century. The 1978 film Up in Smoke featuring Cheech Marin made cannabis appear to be an everyday elixir for Mexican-Americans and hippies alike. But the truth about Latinos and weed is little more complex.

Older and immigrant Latinos tend to be more socially conservative, particularly when it comes to drug use. The Public Policy Institute of California said last year that a majority of Latinos are opposed to full legalization for pot.

That’s why those who are allied against the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 63 (the recreational marijuana initiative slated for November’s ballot in California), are counting on Latino voters to help them defeat it.