California | Up in smoke

How a referendum to legalize marijuana failed in California

01 January 2011
Volunteers with the Yes On 19 campaign to legalise marijuana make phone calls to voters at the group’s headquarters at Oaksterdam.
DAVID PAUL MORRIS / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGE
Volunteers with the Yes On 19 campaign to legalise marijuana make phone calls to voters at the group’s headquarters at Oaksterdam.
DAVID PAUL MORRIS / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGE

LEGALISING MARIJUANA should have been an easy sell in laid-back, pot-friendly California. The leaf is ubiquitous here. Whiffs of the distinct, sticky-sweet odour of pot smoke hang around nightspots, house parties and even busy downtown streets.

The Golden State was the first to officially allow medicinal use of marijuana back in 1996. Legalising recreational use would have been the next logical step in a state reputed for thinking out of the box and showing the way to the rest of the United States.

Yet last month Californians rejected a ballot proposal to decriminalise cannabis use.

Maureen Nandini Mitra is an independent journalist who divides her time between Berkeley, CA, and Kolkata, India.

Keywords: Drugs marijuana Arizona California Maureen Nandini Mitra Proposition 19 cannabis Eric Holder Richard Lee
COMMENT