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Does Prop 19 deserve to pass?
Voters soften to the idea of legalizing marijuana in the state, but politicians, law enforcement leaders, and newspapers are united against it
 
Samples of medical marijuana are displayed during an expo in Berkeley, California in March 2010.
Samples of medical marijuana are displayed during an expo in Berkeley, California in March 2010.
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A ballot measure that would legalize — and tax — marijuana in California gained some ground just one week before the start of early voting, with 49 percent of the state's voters now saying they support Proposition 19. Just 42 percent say they are opposed, according to a new Field Poll. In July, those numbers were roughly reversed. But even with the surge of support, Prop. 19 remains short of the 50 percent it would need to win, and nearly every newspaper in the state has come out against the measure, as have an overwhelming majority of politicians and law enforcement groups. Does Prop. 19 deserve to pass? (Watch a CNN discussion about opposition to the law)

No, Prop. 19 would lead to chaos: There are worthy arguments for legalizing pot, say the editors of the Los Angeles Times, "but Proposition 19 is so poorly thought out, badly crafted and replete with loopholes and contradictions" that even proponents of legal pot should vote against it. Instead of creating a "statewide regulatory framework," it would lead to a disastrous patchwork of local laws, and all of them in conflict with federal law, which still sees marijuana as a dangerous, illegal drug.
"Snuff out pot measure"

Prop. 19 is better than the status quo: This is an overdue attempt to tilt marijuana laws toward "reality and human liberty," says Matt Welch at Reason, yet anybody who dares voice approval is "treated like Tommy Chong at a church picnic." With every newspaper in the state opposed, Prop. 19 faces an uphill battle. But whatever its flaws, Prop. 19 is better than the "despicable, murderous, futile, rights-destroying," and "minority-imprisoning" status quo.
"No-on-Prop. 19 consensus welcomes Arnold, L.A. Times, Modesto Bee"

Legalizing marijuana would be irresponsible: It is ludicrous to be talking about legalizing a "dangerous drug" in a state that "bans trans fats, soda machines in schools, and wants to ban smoking cigarettes in private residences," says a committee of law enforcement leaders in the Ventura County Star. Pot "harms the brains of the adolescent and chronic users." Making it legal would put "a tremendous burden" on police, and fuel addiction problems, creating "disastrous effects on public health."
"Prop. 19 a bad law for California"

 

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