Legalizing marijuana: The drive for 2012

California's Prop 19 went down to defeat. But pro-legalization activists are already gearing up for the next big battle

Though California's Prop. 19 failed to pass, Sacramento and Rancho Cordova have both voted to start taxing marijuana.
(Image credit: Corbis)

Marijuana legalization suffered a big defeat in California on Tuesday, but proponents of liberalizing cannabis laws aren't giving up. Richard Lee, the marijuana entrepreneur behind California's Prop 19, and a Colorado group called Legalize2012 are among those preparing to try again in two years. A presidential election should draw more of "the type of voters one could expect to support marijuana legalization," says Chris Good in The Atlantic. Will their efforts fare better than Prop 19? (Watch a local report about the effort)

Legalization is coming soon: The defeat of Prop 19 was "disappointing" for those of us who "want a bit of sanity" in our drug laws, says Tom Chivers in the London Daily Telegraph. But pot legalization "is far from dead." Several California cities just approved measures to tax pot, when it becomes legal, and public opinion is on a steady upward trajectory. "When the proposition is raised again in 2012, it would be unwise to bet against it."

"California's 'no' vote on Prop 19... is just delaying the inevitable"

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We'll bet against 2012: Yes, pot "legalizers" will try again in two years, "but the 'no' camp is buoyant" after Prop 19's larger-than-expected defeat, says The Economist. Support for loosening pot laws is increasing, but "change is clearly still some way off." That's great news for Mexican drug traffickers, who "will be lighting up a celebratory joint."

"High times for drug traffickers"

Prop 19 changed everything: Legalization may not be "mainstream enough — yet," says Jessica Bennett in Newsweek. But Prop 19 supporters are already claiming victory. Legalization initiatives will almost certainly be on the 2012 ballot in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, and the California measure, while unsuccessful, marked "a turning point in the fight for pot reform — and one that changed the national discourse for good."

"Down, but not burnt out"

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