Eight days ago I rounded up the first five of what will be dozens of California daily newspapers to come out against Proposition 19, the country's first real marijuana-legalization ballot initiative with any chance at passing. A few more ostensibly left-leaning editorial boards have weighed in since then. My reader's guide:
Newspaper: Sacramento Bee
Sophomoric pot joke: "It is so poorly drafted, in fact, that it almost makes you wonder: What were they smoking?"
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: "California ought to have a serious debate on whether to legalize marijuana for personal use. If lawmakers won't confront the issue, it might even be time for a ballot initiative to change the law. Proposition 19 is not the right one."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "A mishmash of rules would inevitably result, only multiplying the mess created by medical marijuana dispensaries that have mushroomed across California. The laws governing marijuana should be uniform across the state, as they are for alcohol."
WTF: "The measure has no definition of what would constitute driving under the influence of marijuana"
Bonus random statism: "[I]t would put state law in direct conflict with federal law. The Obama administration, which has taken a hands-off attitude on medicinal marijuana, says legalization is 'a non-starter.' Gil Kerlikowske, the national drug czar, told California police chiefs in March that 'marijuana use is harmful,' that legalization would increase abuse and that its social costs would outweigh any possible tax revenue.
Newspaper: Ventura County Star
Sophomoric pot joke: Adjectives include "sketchy" and "crackpot."
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: "There could be actual benefits from taxing and regulating the sale of cannabis. Supporters of Proposition 19 may want to try again later with a fully developed plan. In the meantime, voters should nix Proposition 19. Backers of the measure say it would generate billions of dollars in tax revenue for state and local governments, but that prediction is questionable for at least a couple of reasons."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "The ballot measure would result in a patchwork of city-by-city, county-by-county regulations on sales, transportation, cultivation and consumption — with different tax rates and rules, making enforcement a nightmare."
Bonus random statism: "[I]t neglects to address appropriate state taxes and how those revenues would be used"
Newspaper: San Francisco Chronicle
Sophomoric pot joke: n/a
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: "We agree with the architects of Prop. 19 that the 'war on drugs'—especially as it applies to marijuana—has been an abject failure. Laws against personal possession are widely ignored, they are enforced unevenly and they divert law enforcement and the courts from more pressing priorities. The result is a flourishing underground economy that allows marijuana to escape taxation and regulation while bestowing profits on criminal enterprises. If this were simply a referendum on the status quo, and the ability of a 21-or-older Californian to possess an ounce or less for personal use, it might be an easy 'yes' vote. It is not. It is a law that goes too far in endowing rights for the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "Prop. 19 allows the 58 counties and hundreds of cities to come up with their own taxation and regulatory schemes. In this critical element of legalization, Prop. 19 is more akin to the chaotic approach taken with medical marijuana than to the heavily taxed-and-regulated treatment of alcohol."
WTF: "Pre-employment testing would be banned." (Go ahead and read the proposition in full–nothing in there at all, as far as I can reckon.)
Bonus random statism: "The measure establishes no state controls over distribution and product standards"
The Chronicle's vote-no editorial is especially sweet given that the paper's much-hated columnist Debra Saunders, derided by many locals for her right-of-San–Francisco views, just came out with a pretty good column explaining why she's voting yes.
So have any California newspapers editorialized in favor of Prop. 19? So far I have found exactly one, and only because it was Tweeted to my attention: The Barstow Desert Dispatch, circulation not so much. Words of wisdom there: "Proposition 19 contributes to an effort to end a failed war that has consumed thousands of lives—and entire lifetimes….It is time to end the fantasy that the government has the power or capability to end the private use of mind-altering substances. If it has not happened after 40 years it will never, ever happen."
I'll reiterate and update my previous pitch: If Dianne Feinstein, Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer, Dan Lungren, Steve Cooley, Lee Baca, 49 California congresspeople, the California Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Dean Singleton's MediaNews empire are against it, the vote-yes commercials write themselves.