In 2010, Californians rejected Proposition 19, a ballot initiative to legalize the growth, sale, and recreational consumption of marijuana, by a seven-point margin. What a difference six years have made. On November 8 a new pot legalization initiative, Proposition 64, is expected to win by a landslide.
And that, dear readers, is a safe prediction despite some evidence of a softening of enthusiasm for Prop. 64. Last month, the two most prestigious California public opinion outfits — the Field Research Corporation and Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) — both pegged support for Proposition 64 at 60 percent. Field nostalgically noted that its first poll of California on the subject, in 1969, showed only 13 percent support for legalization.
A recent poll from the California Growers Association of 750 cannabis farmers found that just 31 percent supported Prop. 64, with another 31 percent opposing it and a whopping 38 percent undecided.
Ambivalence among pot farmers is partly attributable to regulatory costs associated with a legalization scheme, and partly to fears of getting crushed by big companies — perhaps alcohol producers and distributors who already have a system in place for getting the product to market. Those involved in the lucrative existing medical marijuana industry are especially nervous.
But it has always been hard to imagine that the Golden State would hold out much longer once pot became legal in other jurisdictions. Aside from California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, and Nevada are holding recreational pot initiatives next month, bidding to join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Washington D.C. as places where one can legally fire up or consume an edible. California’s the biggie, though. And this time, it won’t be close.