I haven’t bothered linking to the ton of post-Prop 19 articles out there, but have noticed a positive trend: there has been very little coverage that treats it as a loss to drug policy reform â€” almost everything is about how Prop 19 energized the discussion, made the “L” word mainstream, and is the first step to at least some kind of reform.
I think the best wrap-up I’ve read is â€œItâ€™s No Longer a Matter of If, Itâ€™s a Matter of Whenâ€ by Brian Doherty at Reason.
He discusses a fascinating aspect of the lead-in to Prop 19 (I know many here had questioned why some of the top reform organizations were initially on the sidelines…)
When Lee launched 19, most other elements of the drug law reform movement, from NORML to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) told him he was picking the wrong year, that he was moving ahead too early.
They eventually came on board after 19 made the ballot, and at the press conference Ethan Nadelmann of the DPA (whose most prominent supporter George Soros came in with a last-minute million dollars for the campaign that helped sponsor a rush of TV ads) admitted that â€œI was among those who initially tried to discourage Richard from going forward. We said â€˜wait until 2012.â€™â€¦I called Richard a couple of weeks ago to say, â€˜Win or lose, you were right. Even if we donâ€™t prevail, the transformation in public dialogue, not just in California but nationally and internationally, has been nothing short of stupendous. The debate over marijuana legalization has been elevated to legitimacy.â€™â€
And now we also have data. As ezrydn and others here in comments have noted, there is a treasure trove of information available about voting for legalization because of this initiative.
Here’s one of the most disturbing and ironic bits of data:
In fact, 67 percent of those who think government is doing too much were anti-19, as were 60 percent of those â€œangryâ€ at the federal government and 71 percent of Tea Party supporters.
Of course, part of the problem (in addition to the hypocrisy of many so-called “anti-government” voters) is that it is ridiculous to assume that the vast population out there knows as much about drug policy as we do. Thus, misconceptions can actually drive large portions of the voting population, particularly with an issue that is as “new” to them as voting for drug policy reform.
That’s why we have to do the job of educating people. Even one at a time will work, if enough of us are doing it.
The Prop 19 vote has given me a number of opportunities to talk to people about reform who might not otherwise be interested in the conversation. I hope the rest of you are taking advantage of similar opportunities.