California Rejects Marijuana Initiative
Marijuana appeared on many ballots this year. Arizona and South Dakota appeared ready to reject ballots legalizing marijuana for medical use, declining to join the 13 other states that have done so.
California considered but rejected the most radical measure with the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act (Proposition 19), which would allow adults 21 and over to grow, possess, and privately consume up to an ounce of pot.
Supporters often push legalized marijuana as a fresh source of tax revenue for cash-strapped states. "No matter what happens (with Prop 19), it's now undeniable that national public sentiment is increasingly turning against the idea that responsible adults should be criminalized for using a substance less harmful than alcohol," said Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project. Critics note that states where medical marijuana is legalized often experience a glut of dispensaries (marijuana dispensaries now outnumber Starbucks stores in Denver and Los Angeles) and questionable prescriptions for everything from cancer to a headache. Others warn that legalizing marijuana for medical use leads down a slippery slope to de-criminalizing pot completely, using California as an example.
Oregon voters were considering an expansion to existing marijuana laws this year: Voters decided whether to authorize state-licensed dispensaries for medical marijuana. Meanwhile, in Colorado, the medical marijuana industry provided generous contributions to favorable candidates and there is already evidence of campaigns for a vote to expand its use to be included in the 2012 election. The expanding consensus toward legalizing marijuana for various uses indicates "the increasingly relativistic tone that our country is adopting," according to Billy Atwell, coordinator for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Atwell also points toward research finding that the only legitimate use of medical marijuana is in pill form.