Legalized Marijuana Defeated by Calif. Voters

By Laura Strachan, Esq. on November 04, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The smoke has died down on California Proposition 19 for now. The controversial California proposition was on the most recent ballot and would have legalized marijuana in the Golden State. If the measure had passed, California would have been the first state in the nation to legalize the use of marijuana for purposes other than medical reasons.

The proposition's failing was the product of low voter turnout by many of the young voters that would have approved the measure. The Washington Post reports that the same or a similar proposition will likely reappear on ballots in 2012.

"It's still a historic moment in this very long struggle to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition," Steven Gutwillig, California Director for the Drug Policy Project, told the Post. Unquestionably because of Proposition 19, marijuana legalization initiatives will be on the ballot in a number of states in 2012, and California is in the mix."

So for now, Californians need to remember that marijuana is not legal and there are legal penalties associated with the sale and distribution of the plant. Recently, California changed the status for simple possession from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. Although this new classification is mainly aimed at simplifying the processing of offenders, larger scale possession and manufacturing will still carry significant penalties.

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