Drug War

A New Pot Legalization Proposal in California Gets Good Poll Numbers


The folks behind a proposed California ballot initiative called "Regulate Marijuana Like Wine" have issued the results of a poll they commissioned with some good news for those who want to see marijuana lose its criminality in the state:

A recent poll reveals that California voters, by a 62% to 35% margin, with 3% unsure, support a ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like wine.

The statewide poll, by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, Inc. surveyed 800 likely voters and found that 80% of the respondents agreed to the statement, "State and federal drug laws are outdated and have failed, therefore, we need to take a new approach that makes sense for today."…

Likely voters also agree (by a margin of 71% to 24%) that state and local law enforcement agencies spend too much time, money and resources enforcing marijuana laws.

In that same poll, the largest "reason for support" answer (41 percent) was to bring in revenue for the community and state. The largest "reason for opposition" answer was, that they were just against drug use (29 percent). 48 percent of those polled said they had themselves tried pot.

The "Regulate Marijuana Like Wine" folk explain why they think their proposal is better than another pot initiative fighting for ballot access in California, the Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act.

My account of the rise and fall of the last attempt to legalize marijuana via initiative in California, which failed 54-46, 2010's Proposition 19, from Reason's February 2011 issue. That one looked like it was heading for victory in the polls in the months leading up to the actual election; things can and do shift, but the general trend in public support for loosening pot laws is pretty consistently upward.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

67 responses to “A New Pot Legalization Proposal in California Gets Good Poll Numbers

  1. In that same poll, the largest “reason for support” answer (41 percent) was to bring in revenue for the community and state.

    This does not bode well.

    How quickly will these same people want to repeal pot legalization based on the financial health of the state. Were CA not having massive financial troubles, these people would be just fine watching pot smokers continue to go to jail, and have no problem seeing tens of thousands of lives/families ruined. I know it’s California and they’re headed for absolute insolvency, but whenever someone favors legalization for any other reason than personal liberty, I’m suspicious. These people are incapable of seeing life without looking at it through statism colored lenses.

    1. OTOH, it’s possible that the law will pass, the sky will fail to fall, and everyone will wonder why they ever considered the other approach.

      1. In CA, the sky will fall. Even now it’s only being held up by budget and accounting tricks.

        Either way, people who choose to pass a personal liberty bill under the auspices of helping the state really need to go fuck themselves for the simple reason that they necessarily see the financial health of the state as somehow more important than personal liberty.

        1. Baby steps. Leagal weed revenue-stream plus reduced law and order costs ultimately will be seen as a plus. It’s a good start.

          1. I agree.

            All I’m suggesting is that this isn’t a pro-liberty approach, which means that it’s subject to forces outside of the desire for personal liberty.

            And paying dearly in taxes and having to abide by whatever regulations some government bureaucrat in a suit deems suitable, however onerous, though certainly better, is little more than paying tribute in order to stay out of jail.

            1. So you would rather see “the pure play” go down in defeat because the majority of the public are dumbshits.

              1. i know. jesus christ, the lack of pragmatism just amazes me.

                who gives a flying fuck WHY they want to legalize it? they want to legalize it.

                it’s a good thing

                and as soon as a state legalizes (a real state… alaska doesn’t count. too isolated) pot and people see— hey. the sky didn’t fall, the effect cascades.

                we saw the EXACT same thing with right to carry.

                some people NEVER learn from history and will never be satisfied with anything that is not 100% in accord with their ideological purity test.

                they are often freedom’s worst enemies

                1. who gives a flying fuck WHY they want to legalize it? they want to legalize it.

                  No. They don’t want to legalize pot. They want to raise revenue, and see pot as a way to meet their ends. Pot smokers are pawns in their statist game, and are only useful so long as they can meet a particular end which has nothing to do with smoking pot.

                  It is NOT the same thing, nor should it be treated as such.

                  I’m NOT saying that legalization isn’t better, but it will come at a great, although certainly lesser than incarceration, cost.

                  Don’t misconstrue my words.


                  1. The hell they don’t want to legalize, but they are making that tolerable to a big chunk of people that don’t give a shit about what you think you should be free to do. Newsflash – you can’t win otherwise. If that chaps your ass too much, find another place to live.

                    Here’s a hint – you aren’t paying state liquor taxes on your homebrew. If you can’t stand the tax – grow it yourself after it is legalized.

              2. That’s not at all what I said. Perhaps you ought to learn to read.

                What I’m saying is that this is a deal with the devil, and you’d better be prepared to have your newly legalized weed taken from you at any moment because their motives have absolutely nothing to do with personal liberty.

                1. the motives of the initiative signers will mean exactly ZERO in regards to the EFFECT of the law

                  *my* newly legalized weed won’t be taken from me, because i won’t smoke it.

                  i don’t support pot legalization for selfish reasons. i won’t smoke it

                  i support it because it’s good policy

                  and this law is good law

                  if Ron Paul gets elected because 50% of the electorate thinks he’s cute as fuck, does that make his election a bad thing?

      2. Bi or want to find people having the same sexual orientation?—datebi*cO’m— is a safe and free site for you.2

    2. People can support the right policy because they think it will cause orgasms wrapped in cash to fall from the sky, for all I care.

      Nein, citizen, you cannot have your freedom, because you do not love it strongly enough!

    3. In that same poll, the largest “reason for support” answer (41 percent) was to bring in revenue for the community and state.,/i>

      Isn’t that pretty much why Prohibition was repealed.

      And, once its legalized, I don’t see it going back if the revenue falls short.

      1. Prohibition ended because the Feds needed the excise tax desperately.

      2. Alcohol prohibition was repealed because too many people liked their drank.

        1. Having gotten rid of one of the largest industries in the midst of a depression played a part.

          Once the goons start seeing tax revenues from pot, they won’t try to make it illegal again.

          1. Fuck, I need to learn to write American. “Having gotten rid of one of the nation’s largest industries was an important factor once the country was in the midst of a depression.”

    1. Let me be clear. Those terrorists and cyber-bullies are true American heroes.

    2. From the article:

      Ron Paul’s racist politics and affiliations are already well known, being viciously anti-immigrant, anti-abortion and against gay marriage ? not to mention having authored the racist “Ron Paul Papers” and receiving financial support from other white power groups

      Haters gonna hate. Let’s see what, if anything, Anonymous actually produces in terms of documentary evidence.

      1. Well, here’s the claim that bothers me.

        According to these messages, Ron Paul has regularly met with many A3P members, even engaging in conference calls with their board of directors.

        Now, “regularly met” sounds to me like “showed up at Ron Paul events.” But what about conference calls with the board of directors? Of course, there’s no real proof as of yet.

        That said, this article — by a hoodie-wearning delinquent who is billed as the “National Anonymous Examiner” — sheds a lot of doubt on the veracity of their claims. He trots out a number of weak arguments (“the noozletters were written in the FIRST PERSON!!!1!”) that makes me believe they are agenda driven wackos willing to distort the truth.

        1. Serious guess: this nazi idiot was in a room once when Paul called to address a bunch of volunteers and thank them for holding up signs –> run it on ego exaggeration spin cycle –> Paul telecon’d with our BoD!

        2. It took you getting that far to realize that they had an agenda to grind?

          By hacking in to where ever they got this supposed “proof” (though all I’ve seen is weak sauce) should have been enough to convince you of that.

    3. I can’t believe Ron Paul took this photo with that neo-nazi!! ZOMGGGGGGG Paul is da debil!


      1. “We swear they were tongue-kissing, like, two seconds before that.”

        1. Look to the right…above Kelsos shoulder….in the trees…..a man…with a rifle! No just a bird…carry on!


      1. Close. Ties.

    5. He probably had ties with the original Nazis too.

      1. You know who else had ties with the original Nazis?

        1. You know who else had ties with the original Nazis?


    6. Have you read this? It tells us nothing other than there are racists out there who support Ron Paul, not that he supports any of their positions. Every email they showed was from a racist offering support or encouragement, not Ron Paul thanking them for it, or asking for it, or planning to collaborate with them to enact policy or anything at all. Not even acknowledging that they exist. Surely Obama gets pledges of support from “anarchist” all the time; that does not mean that Obama supports their cause.

      The statement from Anonymous about Paul is also rabidly false, and blatant propaganda.

      Ron Paul’s racist politics and affiliations are already well known,

      Name one. Just one policy or verifiable affiliation that is racist. And I don’t mean “some racist sent him a check” as an affiliation, because it isn’t. Every politician is supported by some shady character or another. How has he worked with racist organizations or their leaders in order to enact racist policy? Until they can tell me EXACTLY which racist policy he is in favor of and how he worked with racists to enact it, these accusations are BASELESS. One only need look at his record to see definitively that he has never supported a “racist” bill in his entire career as a politician.

      being viciously anti-immigrant,

      If they believe that he is anti-immigration, it’s clear that they have no idea what his position is. Wanting to limit illegal immigration while we have a welfare state makes no economic sense. Get rid of the welfare state, and he’s essentially in favor of open borders. How is it racist to not want to support foreigners with American tax dollars?

      anti-abortion and against gay marriage

      What do either of these have to do with race? And even if abortion were a race issue, how is allowing states to decide abortion law racist?

      ? not to mention having authored the racist “Ron Paul Papers” and receiving financial support from other white power groups (pictured with Don Black from stormfront.org).

      He didn’t “author” them, and writing that is pure propaganda. How many shady characters did Obama receive support from?

      This is a bunch of “Paul is not a progressive, so we’re gonna throw racism charges at him because that’s what we progressives do” nonsense. Giving it any validity at all is utterly stupid.

      1. Right. The racist newsletters were almost certainly written by James Powell. As I noted above, my concern was with the teleconferencing with the board of directors. Raston Bot’s explanation sounds plausible to me.

      2. How has he worked with racist organizations or their leaders in order to enact racist policy?

        That’s easy. Auditing the Fed is racist.

    7. Funny how everything they cited, including pictures, actually shows he has no ties to these people or organization.

  2. they were just against drug use

    My crystal ball says these folks have a big collective FUCK YOU of disappointment in their future.

  3. A recent poll reveals that California voters, by a 62% to 35% margin, with 3% unsure, support a ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like wine.

    And, of course, by that they mean they want wine criminalized as violently as possible.

  4. Mad props, BTW, to the pro-pots for finally taking a sensible and sale-able approach to this.

    1. EXACTLY.

      the ideological purity test nimrods can suck it

  5. A recent poll reveals that California voters, by a 62% to 35% margin, with 3% unsure, support a ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like wine.

    Yeah, well, if it weren’t for the Federal Government trumping this “State rights” zealotry, we would not have freedom!

    At least, that is what some imbecile argued the other day…

    1. Teh 10th Amendmunt is ANARKY!!!!!

  6. The 3% who answered “what, duuuuude?” should count as for legalization.

  7. This could work.

    “Regulate” and “Wine” are pretty solid White People words. And they also say “Like” a lot, especially in California. But “Marijuana” is what cops and Mexicans call weed, so that’s gotta go. And “Wine” is too broad. It includes poor-people wine.

    And really, while “regulate” does strike to the very core of Whiteness, it’s also one of those weird rap-song words that only make sense to black people who don’t have the manicured pseudo-dreadlocks that the good black people in the admissions office and on PBS have.

    I’d go with “Control Hemp Like CCOF Certified Organic Unfortified Traditionally Packaged Vins De Pays,” or maybe “Administer Cannabis Like Biodynamic Pauillac,” if you need to fit it on a bumper sticker.


    1. TLDR

      Change the name of the act to ‘Regulate Cannabis like Riesling’ to better appeal to the Whole Foods crowd.

    2. ,black people who don’t have the manicured pseudo-dreadlocks that the good black people in the admissions office and on PBS have.

      You noticed that too.

    3. Why are you making this about race? I think the way they named this thing was pretty smart. We have this massive marijuana industry that is entirely unregulated. There is no control over it. Regulating it like wine means it will be sold from shops that ID customers who don’t appear to be of age. It will be produced and sold through legal channels rather than by organized crime through the black market. The word “wine” works for a few different reason. Wine makes California money. Californians are proud of their wine and their wine industry. Wine isn’t so much associated with bums drinking cheap fortified wine as it is with educated intelligent people consuming it. It’s not hardcore like “alcohol,” strong liquor. Much less wine is consumed than beer, and we don’t want to think that as many people will consume marijuana as beer. The name of this ballot initiative says so much. It sells the thing. This racial angle you’re talking about is just kind of silly, and I don’t believe for one second that those who named this initiative were thinking about race or doing it as any kind of attack on black people. They just wanted a name that would sell.

  8. Unfortunately, marijuana legalization isn’t doing as well in my home state of Michigan

    On the Ron Paul threadjack, National Review thinks that he could win Maine.

  9. I hope it, or something similar passes, but there’s really dumb language in RMLW about banning GMO cannabis, because of teh evil Monsanto.

  10. There are a few “bugs’ in the language of the initiative:

    “(10) Experimentation, development, research, testing, cultivation, sales, or possession of genetically-modified (GMO) marijuana, hemp, and its seeds, shall be banned throughout the state of California.”

    I guess this clause appeals to the anti-science types, but it bugs the crap out of me.

    1. It’s california. So you have to cut ADM off at the knees before you start…

      1. I actually exchanged a bunch of emails with one of the authors of RMLW regarding the anti-GMO clause. He is basically a retard on the subject.

        1. I’d be interested in hearing what he had to say, if only for amusement.

          1. It was the usual trype about GMO foods being dangerous, the corporashuns controlling the means of production, no recognition that genetically engineered crops have basically fed the world…

    2. It’s stupid, but genetically modified pot is already illegal, so…

    3. There isn’t much of a need for GMO pot, it’s sturdy enough and grows fast enough already dank enough,

  11. Am I mistaken or didn’t prop 19 poll right around 60% support as well?

    1. No, sadly you are not mistaken. I think this proposition has some aspects different then 19 improve its chances but I’m pessimistic as to whether that level of support will last.
      19 left it open what regulation would be adopted and the uncertainty was exploited. This one has a very clear and friendly vision of legalization.
      But I suspect that there at least 8% of the respondents might reconsider if they were prompted to consider the horrors of teachers and firemen smoking pot; landlords unable to tell people not to grow on their properties; employers having to hire stoners and their previously successful college age children smoking ounces of dirt cheap, primo weed.

      1. Why would landloards be unable to tell people they can’t grow or for that matter smoke on their property and why should employers have to hire stoners.

  12. the rest of my comment was dropped.

    The ban on GMO pot is silly and reinforces silly ideas but I’ll save my concern for bans on modifying plants that could really use some improvements in order to better feed and cloth people. Also, what Baked Penguin said.

  13. the ban on GMO *is* stupid, but this is california. if there has to be a stupid provision in an overwhelmingly beneficial, anti-state-power law, i can live with that

    1. Yeah, that is my position as well. Besides, we can remove the anti-GMO silliness with a subsequent proposition.

  14. Won’t matter… Team Obama is just as bad about running roughshod over states where medical MJ is legal.

    Due to the fact that Team Blue hates state autonomy, but then again sensible people know that going in.

  15. No one has the authority to illegalize a plant. If they claim this authority they are also claiming to be God. The government is not your God.

    Please America, let’s grow out of infantilism.

  16. This initiative has some aspects that should be of some particular interest to Reason Readers.

    The initiative was authored and is run by a board where 3 of the 4 members are people who have run for office as Libertarians. James P. Gray, Steve Collett, and Steve Kubby all have run high profile (as it may be) campaigns in California and have the strongest of ties to the freedom movement on the whole.

    The initiative language was, with some care, crafted to provide the maximum amount of liberty possible and be defensible in a nation where Federal Power seems to be expanding at geometric rates.

    The crux of the legal strategy is this: Like Wine establishes in its language that the possession of marijuana as well as its use, transportation and sale is a right. Drink that in a moment.

    It then instructs the State Government to defend that right against any that would undermine it. That same instruction is also extended to protect proposition 215 which is the basis for Califonia’s medical marijuana law.

    The regulation part? Well here is a problem: Federal Supremacy.

    The federal government has two powers that they say gives them the authority to police the people (not the states) over the drug war. The first is the authority to sign treaties and they signed several to launch the drug war, and the other is interstate commerce.

    The first power is interesting in how far it has reached into our lives. Can you say UN, NATO, NAFTA? It is the very basis of some really heinous abrogation of rights; one of the biggest offenders is the drug war.

    Recently a case decided by the Supreme Court undercut federal authority established by treaty. In a layman’s nutshell: Bond vs US (2011) said that though the federal government does have the authority to sign treaties, that authority does not override state authority. So if a state has a law that has a lesser punishment than the feds, then just because they signed a treaty, does not mean they can authority in lieu of the state in the matter. Right now they can, if the state does not claim jurisdiction.

    The other power: Interstate commerce is a tricky one. This power has been used to justify prosecuting a farmer who dared grow more grain than the feds allowed. The court upheld that the feds had the power to do so, even though the farmer had grown it only for feeding his own livestock. The court ruled that even though the farmer was not going to trade, that the interstate economy was still affected by his absence of not buying what he needed.

    It is a horrible ruling that needs to go; and we wheedle at it, but that is not the point of the initiative. Right now, interstate commerce is a power we have to deal with.

    The initiative deals with both of these threats by doing to two changes above but then by putting a state law in place that can be used to demonstrate that California has jurisdiction over the trade, overriding the fed’s authority assumed through laws based on a treaty.

    The alcohol model is one that broke the back of prohibition last century. It provides a VERY liber-al production and sales model.

    It is still a morally tainted move to give these powers to the government over trade. It is however far less taint than the current regulations, wherein marijuana is regulated like heroin and we have military style raids on American households.

    Federal agents have been shutting down California’s medical marijuana program. They need protection now or this movement may get buries in a mountain of tax liens and Al Capone style prosecutions of growers, caregivers, patients (cooperatives are a giant criminal conspiracy after all), even printers and gardening suppy businesses are in jeopardy with the level of enforcement the USAG is putting on this. Even newspapers are in danger for having run ads for dispensaries.

    It could end political discussion as the major proponents of the legalization movement could be jailed for life or gagged.

    Like Wine has the legal foundation for ending the drug war right now. When 62% of the people of a state with the economic muscle of California, declare a right and then seek to defend it, there is weight behind it.

    The 10th amendment basis of this effort is amazingly strong. It will be a huge win for freedom when this passes. The ripples in deconstructing federal power will spread far and wide.

    This year we could throw a big wrench into the cogs of the machine. We can do it with a VERY popular subject and this initiative passing is a no-brainer. It just needs to get on the ballot.

    BTW if you want to see something awe inspiring, the photo gallery on Like Wine’s facebook page is unique. There are over 300 pictures of people holding up campaign signs all over California and they get new photos regularly coming in.

    Can you imagine an initiative campaign so popular that people will stop on the street and pose with a sign? People want to be a part of this. You want to be a part of this!


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.