California Proposition 19, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2010)

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Proposition 19, also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, is a California ballot proposition which is on the November 2, 2010 California statewide ballot as an initiated state statute. It would take effect the day after the election.[1]

Proposition 19, if approved by voters, will legalize various marijuana-related activities, allow local governments to regulate these activities, permit local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorize various criminal and civil penalties.[2] Proposition 19 was certified for the November statewide ballot on March 24, 2010.[3] The official proponents of the measure are Richard Lee and Jeffrey Wayne Jones. Tax Cannabis 2010 is the official advocacy group for the initiative.

11 California cities have local ballot measures on their November 2 ballot that would allow them to tax recreational marijuana if Proposition 19 passes.

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Stay tuned for election results on November 2, 2010:

Proposition 19 (Marijuana Legalization)
Result Votes Percentage
Result not yet known
Total votes 0%
Voter turnout  %

Results via California Secretary of State Election Results.

Current legal status

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 1449 on October 1, 2010. Effective January 1, 2011, SB 1449 turns the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor into an civil infraction.

Medical marijuana is already legal in California, due to the enactment of Proposition 215 in 1996.

The use, sale and cultivation of marijuana is currently illegal under federal law throughout the United States.

Text and title

See also: Text of the "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010" and Ballot titles, summaries and fiscal statements for California's 2010 ballot propositions

Ballot title:

Legalizes Marijuana Under California but not Federal Law.
Permits Local Governments to Regulate and Tax Commercial Production, Distribution, and Sale of Marijuana.
Initiative Statute.

Official summary:

Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired.

Summary of estimated fiscal impact:

Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of marijuana products.[4]

Effects of the bill

See also: Predicted impact if Proposition 19 is approved and marijuana becomes legal in California

According to the State of California analysis, the bill will have the following effects.[2]

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  • Persons over the age of 21 may possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal consumption.
  • May use cannabis in a non-public place such as a residence or a public establishment licensed for on site marijuana consumption.
  • May grow marijuana at a private residence in a space of up to 25 square feet for personal use.

Local government regulation

  • Local government may authorize the retail sale of up to 1 ounce of marijuana per transaction, and regulate the hours and location of the business.
  • Local government may authorize larger amounts of marijuana for personal possession and cultivation, or for commercial cultivation, transportation, and sale.
  • Allows for the transportation of marijuana from a licensed premises in one city or county to a licensed premises in another city or county, without regard to local laws of intermediate localities to the contrary.

Local taxes and fees

  • Allows the collection of taxes specifically to allow local governments to raise revenue or to offset any costs associated with marijuana regulation.

Criminal and civil penalties

  • Maintains existing laws against selling drugs to a minor and driving under the influence.
  • Maintains an employer's right to address consumption of cannabis that affects an employee's job performance.
  • Maintain existing laws against interstate or international transportation of cannabis.
  • Any person who is licensed, permitted or authorized to sell cannabis, who knowingly sells or gives away cannabis to someone under the age of 21 results in them being banned from owning, operating, or being employed by a licensed cannabis establishment for one year.
  • Any person who is licensed, permitted or authorized to sell cannabis, who knowingly sells or gives away cannabis to someone older the age of 18 but younger than 21, shall be imprisoned in county jail for up to six months and fined up to $1,000 per offense.
  • Any person who is licensed, permitted or authorized to sell cannabis, who knowingly sells or gives away cannabis to someone age 14 to 17, shall be imprisoned in state prison for a period of three, four, or five years.
  • Any person who is licensed, permitted or authorized to sell cannabis, who knowingly sells or gives away cannabis to someone under the age of 14, shall be imprisoned in state prison for a period of three, five, or seven years

Fiscal impact

In the time leading to 2010, California's state government's budget deficit has grown to be the largest of all American states. The California legislature has estimated that taxing the previously untaxed domestically grown $14 billion cannabis market would produce $1.4 billion a year,[5] Taxing cannabis, supporters say, could be a smart way to help alleviate pressure on the state budget.[6]

According to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, the following fiscal impact would result from the bill.[7]

  • Result in significant savings to state and local governments, potentially up to several tens of millions of dollars annually due to reduction of individuals incarcerated, on probation or on parole.
  • Cells currently being used to house cannabis offenders could be used for other criminals, many of whom are now being released early because of a lack of jail space.
  • Reduction in state and local costs for enforcement of cannabis-related offenses and the handling of related criminal cases in the court system, providing the opportunity for funds to be used to enforce other existing criminal laws. The RAND Corporation has found that law enforcement costs for cannabis enforcement are approximately $300 million a year.
  • Potential increase in the costs of substance abuse programs due to speculated increase in usage of cannabis, possibly having the effect of reducing spending on mandatory treatment for some criminal offenders, or result in the redirection of these funds for other offenders.
  • The measure could potentially reduce both the costs and offsetting revenues of the state's medical marijuana program as adults over 21 would be less likely to participate in the existing program as obtaining cannabis would be easier, thus making use of existing medical marijuana program unnecessary.
  • There would be a reduction in fines collected under current state law but a possible increase in local civil fines authorized by existing local laws.
  • The cumulative effect on fines is largely unknown.


"Yes on 19" campaign logo


See also: Supporters and opponents of Proposition 19, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative
  • Gary E. Johnson, former two term Republican Governor of New Mexico[8]
  • Joycelyn Elders, former United States Surgeon General[9]
  • George Miller, current Democratic House Representative from California's 7th congressional district[10]
  • Barbara Lee, current Democratic House Representative from California's 9th congressional district[10]
  • Pete Stark, current Democratic House Representative from California's 13th congressional district[10]
  • John Dennis, 2010 Republican Congressional candidate for California's 8th congressional district[11]
  • Dan Hamburg, former Democratic House Representative from California's 1st congressional district[12]
  • Don Perata, former Democratic President pro tempore of the California State Senate[12]
  • Mark Leno, current Democratic member of the California State Senate[12]
  • Tom Ammiano, current Democratic member of the California State Assembly[13][14]
  • Jorge Castañeda Gutman, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico[15]
  • Larry Bedard, former President of the American College of Emergency Physicians[16]
  • Tom Bates, current Mayor of Berkeley, California[12]
  • James P. Gray, former Superior Court judge of Orange County, California and former Libertarian Party senate candidate[17]
  • John A. Russo, current City Attorney of Oakland, California[18]
  • Paul Gallegos, current District Attorney of Humboldt County, California[12]
  • Jeffrey Schwartz, former Senior District Attorney and Prosecutor of Humboldt County, California[12]
  • Terence Hallinan, former District Attorney of San Francisco, California[12]
  • Mike Schmier, former District Attorney of Los Angeles, California and California Administrative Law Judge[12]
  • Norm Stamper, former Seattle, Washington police chief[19]
  • Joseph McNamara, Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and former Chief of Police of San Jose, California and of Kansas City, Missouri[12]
  • Stephen Downing, former Los Angeles, California police chief[12]
  • David Doodridge, former Los Angeles, California narcotics detective[20]
  • Ed Rosenthal, cannabis activist and columnist [21]
  • Marc Emery, cannabis activist and former cannabis seed seller[22]
  • California NAACP[23]
  • Oakland City Council[24]
  • Berkeley City Council[12]
  • Humboldt County Board of Supervisors [25]
  • California NORML[26]
  • Drug Policy Alliance[27]
  • Marijuana Policy Project[28]
  • American Federation of Teachers[29]
  • National Black Police Association[30]
  • Law Enforcement Against Prohibition[31]
  • ACLU of Northern California[12]
  • ACLU of San Diego[12]
  • United Food and Commercial Workers Union[32]
  • Communications Workers of America, Local 9415[33]
  • International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Northern California District Council[34]
  • Service Employees International Union of California[35]
  • Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative[12]
  • Los Angeles County Democratic Party[36]
  • San Francisco Democratic Party[37]
  • Alameda County Democratic Party[12]
  • Monterey County Democratic Party[12]
  • Santa Barbara County Democratic Party[38]
  • California Young Democrats[39]
  • Republican Liberty Caucus[12]
  • Green Party of California[12]
  • United States Libertarian Party[40]
  • League of United Latin American Citizens[41]

For a full list of supporters, see Supporters of Proposition 19, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative.

Arguments in favor

"Black cops say legalize marijuana"

If passed by the voters on November 2, 2010, supporters argue that Proposition 19 will:

  • Create between 60,000 and 110,000 new jobs in California[46]
  • Generate between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion in new direct tax revenue annually[46]
  • Expand California's economy by between $16 billion and $23 billion annually[46]
  • Free up law enforcement resources to focus on violent crime and property crime.[45]
  • Reduce environmental damage to California's public lands from illegal grow operations.[52]
  • Reduce state expenditures by over $200 million in law enforcement costs for arrests, prosecutions and imprisonment of cannabis users. [46]
  • Reduce funding to drug cartels, who currently get about 70% of their revenue from illegal cannabis sales[50][53]
  • Improve the relationship between police and the communities they serve. [56]
  • Reduce alcohol's cost to society by allowing adults to choose a safer alternative[57]


"No on 19" campaign logo


Main article: Supporters and opponents of Proposition 19, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Arguments were submitted to the official California Voter Guide urging a "no" vote on Proposition 19, as were rebuttals to the arguments provided by Prop 19 supporters. The signers of these arguments were:

Other groups and individuals who have officially registered their opposition to Proposition 19 include:

  • Senator Barbara Boxer
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • Senate candidate Carly Fiorina
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman
  • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Attorney General Candidate Kamala Harris
  • Attorney General Candidate Steve Cooley.[61]
  • The National Black Churches Initiative
  • Inter-Faith Based Coalition.[reference needed]
  • "Fight Crime, Invest In Kids"
  • The National Association of Drug Court Professionals
  • DARE America
  • Coalition for a Drug-Free California
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  • the California Narcotics Officers Association
  • California Police Chiefs Association[62]
  • The California Cannabis Association [63] [64]
  • Gil Kerlikowske, the so-called "drug czar" in the Obama administration[65]
  • The League of California Cities is urging city councils to adopt resolutions in opposition to Proposition 19[66]

Arguments against

Voting on Marijuana
Marijuana Leaf-smaller.gif
Ballot Measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot

The main themes of the arguments made against Proposition 19 by its opponents in the official California Voter Guide are:

  • The way Proposition 19 is written, it "will prevent bus and trucking companies from requiring their drivers to be drug-free. Companies won’t be able to take action against a 'stoned' driver until after he or she has a wreck, not before."[60]
  • Enactment of Proposition 19 will endanger school children because "A school bus driver would be forbidden to smoke marijuana on schools grounds or while actually behind the wheel, but could arrive for work with marijuana in his or her system."[60]
  • "Proposition 19 could cost our K–12 schools as much as $9.4 billion in lost federal funding", according to public school superintendent John Snavely, Ed.D., because the schools wouldn't be able to comply with federal government grant requirements.[60]
  • Employers in California that bid for public contracts and grants that are ultimately funded by the federal government would no longer be eligible for those contracts and grants if Proposition 19 passes because Proposition 19 would prevent them from being able to "effectively enforce the drug-free workplace requirements outlined by the federal government". This would result in further harm to California businesses and their workers, according to the California Chamber of Commerce: "Proposition 19 creates special rights for employees to possess marijuana on the job, and that means no company in California can meet federal drug-free workplace standards, or qualify for federal contracts. The California State Firefighters Association warns this one drafting mistake alone could cost thousands of Californians to lose their jobs."[60]
  • Proposition 19 doesn't include a definition of "driving under the influence" and as a result, it is opposed by the California Police Chiefs Association because it could lead to a situation where a driver can legally drive "even if a blood test shows that they have marijuana in their system."[60]
  • Employers would not be able to pre-emptively remove workers who smell of marijuana use from sensitive jobs such as operating heavy machinery or running medical lab tests but would instead have to wait to take action until after an accident occurs.[60]

Other arguments that have been made against Proposition 19 include:

  • Problems exist from tobacco and alcohol being legal, why add another to the mix?[67]
  • Due to California's strong law against legislative tampering with what voters enact via the ballot initiative process, if Proposition 19 is passed and is later found to have unexpected negative secondary consequences, the California State Legislature will be unable to effectively address those problems.[68]
  • Legalization would likely bring with it additional substance abuse in the state, and the long-term public costs associated with that could vastly exceed the amount of new revenue legalized marijuana might bring in."[69]
  • It could would lead to an unintended side effect of additional regulation on how many plants a medical marijuana patient may grow and the possible pricing out of smaller distributors.[citation needed]
  • Would lead people to consume marijuana without the advice or guidance of a medical professional.[citation needed]
  • Allegations that the act does not do as the ballot title specifies and is misleading as written.[70]
  • Prop 19 would make it more difficult for police to perform warrantless searches[71]

Donors against

See also: Campaign finance requirements for California ballot measures

Five campaign committees have registered with the California Secretary of State to spend money to defeat Proposition 19. They are:

  • "Nip It In the Bud: No on Prop. 19"
  • "Crusades for Patients Rights - No on Prop 19 Sponsored by Canna Care"
  • "Public Safety First - No on Prop. 19, A Project of People Against Prop. 5 Deception"
  • "Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana"
  • "Committee Against the Legalization of Marijuana, A Committee Against Prop. 19"

Through October 1, donations of $10,000 or more to the "No on 19" campaign effort have come from:

Donor Amount
California Police Chiefs Association $30,000
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians $25,000
California Narcotics Officers Association $20,500
California Beer & Beverage Distributors $10,000

Although the $10,000 contribution from the California Beer & Beverage Distributors is very small by California ballot proposition standards of recent years, it nevertheless attracted a press release from Steve Fox, the government relations director for the Marijuana Policy Project saying, "Unless the beer distributors in California have suddenly developed a philosophical opposition to the use of intoxicating substances, the motivation behind this contribution is clear. Plain and simple, the alcohol industry is trying to kill the competition."[72]

Federal laws?

Marijuana is illegal under federal laws. If marijuana becomes legal in California under state law, it will still be federally illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that federal agents can arrest medical marijuana users and growers even though Proposition 215 makes that behavior legal in California.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government will "vigorously enforce" federal laws governing marijuana as a "core priority" even if Proposition 19 passes.[73]

Legal scholars, considering what might happen if marijuana is fully legalized in California, have said:

  • The federal government would not be able to require California law enforcement agencies to help them enforce the federal law.
  • Federal law enforcement officers can continue to arrest and prosecute the use, sale, possession or production of marijuana in California.
  • As a matter of practice, most marijuana arrests are made by state law enforcement officers. In 2008, there were 847,000 marijuana-related arrests throughout the country. About 6,300 of these arrests were performed by federal agents. That's less than 1% of all marijuana arrests.[74]

Drug Free Schools and Community Act:

At least some universities within the State have said that they would continue to prohibit marijuana on campus because the federal Drug Free Schools and Community Act (DFSCA) requires that they certify that campus policies prohibit illegal drugs. Drugs presumably would be deemed illegal based upon federal standards. Failure to comply with the DFSCA can lead to a loss of all federal funds.[75]



     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%


See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • The Field Poll released survey results in April 2009 which indicated that 56% of Californians support legalizing marijuana.[76][77] In July 2010, a new Field Poll taken between June 22-July 5 showed that more voters oppose (48%) than support (44%) Proposition 19.[78]
  • A poll by EMC Research in January 2010 was said to show that so-called "soccer moms" support marijuana legalization, although exact polling information from this poll was not released to the public. EMC Research was retained to do the poll by legalization supporters. A newspaper report said that affluent suburban mothers support legalization because they believe their adult children can buy marijuana in greater safety if marijuana is legal.[79]
  • A poll by SurveyUSA of 500 adults in April 2010 showed 56% were in favor of legalizing marijuana.[80]
  • A PPIC poll on marijuana legalization in mid-May showed a very close match-up in sentiment between support and opposition. There were demographic differences, however: 62% of Latinos oppose legalization, men favor legalization more than women, and support for legalization declines with age.[81]
  • A poll by Public Policy Polling of 614 California voters shows that 52% polled are in favor of legalizing marijuana. Also according to the poll, 38% said they've smoked marijuana. 44% of those who haven't still support legalization. Democrats are more likely to support legalization. In contradiction to other polls, African Americans are the strongest supporters of legalization at 68:32.[82]
Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
April 20, 2010 SurveyUSA 56% 42% 3% 500
May 9-16, 2010 PPIC 49% 48% 3% 2,003
June 22-July 5, 2010 Field 44% 48% 8% 1,005
July 23-25, 2010 PPP 52% 36% 12% 614
July 8-11, 2010 SurveyUSA 50% 40% 11% 614
Aug 31-Sept 1, 2010 SurveyUSA 47% 43% 10% 569
September 14-21, 2010 Field 49% 42% 9% 599
September 19-21, 2010 SurveyUSA 47% 42% 11% 610
September 19-26, 2010 PPIC 52% 41% 7% 2,004
October 2-4, 2010 Reuters/lpsos 43% 53% 3% 448
October 10-17, 2010 PPIC 44% 49% 7% 2,002
October 13-20, 2010 GQR/AV for LAT/USC 39% 51% 10% 922
October 14-26, 2010 Field for the Sacramento Bee 42% 49% 9% 1,501

Coattails and turnout

Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg conducted a poll in August 2010 to assess whether having Proposition 19 on the ballot would motivate some voters to vote who might not otherwise do so. Greenberg found that 25% of Democrats in California were 'extremely interested' in voting in the 2010 elections for Governor of California (Brown vs. Whitman) and U.S. Senator (Boxer vs. Fiorina). However, 38% of Democrats were 'extremely interested' in voting on Proposition 19. In Greenberg's poll, there was no similarly large gap in interest levels in voting on governor or senator, and voting on Prop. 19.[83]

2010 is a tough year for Democrats around the country, but they are doing relatively better in California than elsewhere. The thought behind the Greenberg study was to determine the extent to which having a marijuana measure on the ballot might motivate voter turn-out that would, in turn, help Democrats who are also on the ballot. If there is a "Prop 19" effect in California that helps Democratic prospects elsewhere on the ballot, Democratic strategists may consider putting similar ballot initiatives on other state ballots in future years.[83]

Opinion of Law Professors

Yes on 19

Law professors from across America wrote an open letter to California voters to express their support for Proposition 19. Here is their letter: To the Voters of California:[84]

"As law professors at many law schools who focus on various areas of legal scholarship, we write this open letter to encourage a wholesale rethinking of marijuana policy in this country, and to endorse the Tax and Control Cannabis 2010 initiative—Proposition 19—that will be voted on in November in California.

For decades, our country has pursued a wasteful and ineffective policy of marijuana prohibition. As with alcohol prohibition, this approach has failed to control marijuana, and left its trade in the hands of an unregulated and increasingly violent black market. At the same time, marijuana prohibition has clogged California’s courts alone with tens of thousands of non-violent marijuana offenders each year. Yet marijuana remains as available as ever, with teens reporting that it is easier for them to buy than alcohol across the country.

Proposition 19 would remove criminal penalties for private use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana by adults and allow California localities to adopt—if they choose—measures to regulate commerce in marijuana. Passage of Proposition 19 would be an important next step toward adopting an approach more grounded in reason, for California and beyond.

Our communities would be better served if the criminal justice resources we currently spend to investigate, arrest, and prosecute people for marijuana offenses each year were redirected toward addressing unsolved violent crimes. In short, the present policy is causing more harm than good, and is eroding respect for the law.

Moreover, we are deeply troubled by the consistent and dramatic reports of disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws against young people of color. Marijuana laws were forged in racism, and have been demonstrated to be inconsistently and unfairly applied since their inception. These are independent reasons for their repeal.

Especially in the current economic climate, we must evaluate the efficacy of expensive government programs and make responsible decisions about the use of state resources. We find the present policies toward marijuana to be bankrupt, and urge their rethinking.

This country has an example of a path from prohibition. Alcohol is subject to a regulatory framework that is far safer in every respect than the days of Al Capone. Just like the State of New York did when it rolled back Prohibition 10 years before the nation as a whole, California should show leadership and restore respect for the law by enacting the Tax and Control Cannabis 2010 initiative this November.


  • Jonathan H. Adler, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Ty Alper, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Berkeley, CA
  • Hadar Aviram, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA
  • W. David Ball, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Randy Barnett, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
  • Tom W. Bell, Chapman Law School, Orange, CA
  • Steve Berenson, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA
  • Eric Berger, University of Nebraska, College of Law, Lincoln, NE
  • Douglas A. Berman, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • David E. Bernstein, George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA
  • Ash Bhagwat, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA
  • Richard Boldt, University of Maryland School of Law, Baltimore, MD
  • Connor Bridges, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Pamela Bridgewater, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC
  • Christopher Bryant, University of Cincinnati College of Law, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Sande Buhai, Loyola University School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
  • Paul Butler,George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC
  • Erwin Chemerinsky, University of California, Irvine, CA
  • Gabriel J. Chin, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, Tucson, AZ
  • Marjorie Cohn, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA
  • Mary Culbert, Loyola University School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
  • Angela J. Davis, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, DC
  • Alan M. Dershowitz, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA
  • J. Herbie DiFonzo, Hofstra Law School, Hempstead, NY
  • Steven Duke, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT
  • Elizabeth Price Foley, Florida International University College of Law, Miami, FL
  • Eric M. Freedman, Hofstra Law School, Hempstead, NY
  • David Friedman, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Mary Ellen Gale, Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Pratheepan Gulasekaram, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Casey William Hardison, University of Idaho School of Law, Moscow, ID
  • Bill Ong Hing, University of San Francisco School of Law, San Francisco, CA
  • Paige Kaneb, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Madeline June Kass, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA
  • Alice Kaswan, University of San Francisco School of Law, San Francisco, CA
  • Alex Kreit, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA
  • Ellen Kreitzberg, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • David Levine, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA
  • Jerry Lopez, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
  • Elizabeth Loftus, University of California, Irvine, CA
  • Erik Luna, Washington and Lee University School of Law, Lexington, VA
  • Michael Madow, Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, NY
  • Leigh Maddox, University of Maryland, School of Law, Baltimore, MD
  • Charles Marvin, Georgia State University College of Law, Atlanta, GA
  • Lawrence C. Marshall, Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA
  • David N. Mayer, Capital University Law School, Columbus, OH
  • Tracy L. McGaugh, Touro Law Center, Central Islip, NY
  • Andrew P. Morriss, University of Alabama, School of Law, Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Christopher Newman, George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA
  • Michelle Oberman, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Tamara R. Piety, University of Tulsa College of Law, Tulsa, OK
  • Ascanio Piomelli, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA
  • David G. Post, Beasley School of Law, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
  • William Quigley, Loyola University School of Law, New Orleans, LA
  • Jenny Roberts, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, DC
  • David Rocklin, University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, OR
  • Cesare Romano, Loyola University School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
  • Margaret Russell, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Barbara Stark, Hofstra Law School, Hempstead, NY
  • Barry C. Scheck, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, NY
  • Steven Semeraro, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA
  • Steven Shatz, University of San Francisco School of Law, San Francisco, CA
  • Jonathan Simon, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Berkeley, CA
  • Eric S. Sirulnik, George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC
  • David Sloss, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Abbe Smith, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
  • Ilya Somin, George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA
  • Clyde Spillenger, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
  • Edward Steinman, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Mark Strasser, Capital University Law School, Columbus, OH
  • Robert N. Strassfeld, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Nadine Strossen, New York Law School, New York, NY
  • Gerald F. Uelmen, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Alexander Volokh, Emory Law School, Atlanta, GA
  • Keith Wingate, University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, CA
  • Eric Wright, Santa Clara Law, Santa Clara, CA
  • Richard W. Wright, Illinois Institute of Technology, Kent College of Law, Chicago, IL"

No on 19

The official No on 19 website does not list any endorsements from law professors as of October 21, 2010.[85]

Editorial opinion

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See also: Endorsements of California ballot measures, 2010

"Yes on 19"

  • The Orange County Register: "Legalizing marijuana use for adults is a significant step away from nanny-state policies and all the crime, corruption and violence that accompany marijuana prohibition, so some caution about such an important move is understandable. But the impact on employment polices, driving laws and the responsibilities of local government are not sufficient to justify rejection of this proposal."[86]
  • The Santa Barbara News-Press: "It is time to legalize marijuana in California."[87]
  • The Santa Cruz Weekly: "The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 will provide the state with significant tax revenue...It's time for this foolish prohibition to be abolished."[88]
  • The Stanford Review: "As both a moral and tangible matter, the harm inflicted on innocent victims by drug gangs is far worse than the harm that drug users willingly inflict on themselves and the abstract harm that marijuana causes to society. The logical next step after this realization is to let legitimate businesses sprout up to supply Californians’ demand for marijuana, instead of continuing our policy of enforcing violent drug gangs’ monopolies on the marijuana market."[89]
  • The Victoriaville Daily Press: "This is not an easy call, but it makes more sense than continuing to expend billions of tax dollars on what is increasingly becoming a futile effort to outlaw marijuana use. It has never worked, and it’s time to try a new tactic. Vote yes on 19."[90]

"No on 19"

  • Bakersfield Californian: "Prop.19’s backers think a legalized, controlled marijuana industry could eventually be regulated and taxed to the tune of as much as $1.4 billion per year to help fund health care, job creation, infrastructure and other needs. But the initiative doesn’t offer guidance on how this might be coordinated - - in fact the taxation element isn’t even written into the proposition…"[91]
  • The Herald (Monterey County): "We fear that a California-only pot industry operating under inconsistent and even contradictory rules would create serious crime problems of its own. Proposition 19 doesn't set a measurable standard for driving under the influence of marijuana, and it could make it much more difficult for employers to bar employees from using marijuana even if it might undermine their ability to work safely."[92]
  • Lompoc Record: "This measure is too flawed to be taken seriously."[93]
  • Long Beach Press-Telegram: "Prop. 19 is flawed, flies in the face of federal law, is opposed by major law-enforcement officials and politicians and would be abused by underage consumers. Estimates of tax revenue are wildly exaggerated."[94]
  • Los Angeles Times: "Proposition 19 is poorly thought out, badly crafted and replete with loopholes and contradictions."[95]
  • Los Angeles Daily News: "The real question of this initiative is whether California wants to take on the federal government and allow any and every city in the state to make up its own rules about selling, manufacturing and transporting an illegal substance. And the Daily News thinks the answer to the question is an emphatic 'no.' The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 is a poorly crafted initiative that would set the scene for a regulatory nightmare in California."[96]
  • Modesto Bee: "Proposition 19 is poorly drafted and deeply flawed, filled with loopholes and ambiguities that would create a chaotic nightmare for law enforcement, local governments and businesses."[97]
  • Sacramento Bee: "The measure on the Nov. 2 ballot is full of worrisome loopholes and ambiguities that would create a chaotic nightmare for law enforcement, local governments and businesses. It is so poorly drafted, in fact, that it almost makes you wonder: What were they smoking?"[98]
  • A joint editorial in the Pasadena Star-News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and Whittier Daily News: "The best way to look at Proposition 19, which would legalize the sale and possession of marijuana for adults, is to paint a picture of the state if the measure were to pass: The guy in the cubicle next to you at work is stoned. There's an increased likelihood the driver of the car in the next lane on the freeway is under the influence of pot. Commercial entities openly selling pot in storefronts near where you shop, or perhaps in your child or grandchild's college dormitory…This is not our vision of a bright California future."[100]
  • Santa Rosa Press Democrat: "Proposition 19 is so poorly worded and filled with loopholes that it’s likely to create more confusion than clarity. And, as with Proposition 215, which legalized medicinal uses of marijuana, it would still leave California law in conflict with federal law, creating more regulatory and policy gridlock at all levels of government."[101]
  • San Bernardino Sun: "Our editorial board agreed unanimously that Proposition 19…is no way to legalize marijuana. It is poorly written, conflicts with too many federal laws and would pose dangers - physical and financial - to the citizens of California."[102]

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

Three different groups filed proposed initiatives with the California Secretary of State for 2010 ballot measures that would legalize marijuana, but the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 is the only one that qualified for the ballot.

  • Richard Lee and Jeffrey Wayne Jones filed the language for 09-0024 on July 27, 2009. This measure, known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, had collected close to 700,000 signatures by the end of 2009 and went on to successfully file sufficient signatures and qualify for the ballot as Proposition 19.[103]
  • Joe Rogoway, Omar Figueroa and James J. Clark filed the language for 09-0022 on July 15, 2009. They referred to their measure as The Tax, Regulate, and Control Cannabis Act of 2010. This measure was withdrawn on 2/4/2010 and was subsequently listed as "failed" on the Secretary of State website. [104]
  • John Donohue of "Californians for Common Sense" filed the language for 09-0025 on August 4, 2009. He referred to his measure as the Common Sense Act of 2010.[105] This initiative also failed to qualify. [106]

Supporters of the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 turned in over 700,000 qualifying signatures to election authorities on January 28, 2010, versus a requirement of 433,971 signatures.[107]

Supporters of the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 campaign launched their signature-collection campaign in September in San Francisco at the annual gathering of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.[108]

Masterson & Wright, a petition drive management company was paid $987,833 to collect signatures to qualify this proposition for the 2010 ballot.[109]

The California Secretary of State published an interim report on the random sampling status of signature validating on February 12.[110]

See also: 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

External links

Suggest a link

Basic information



Additional reading



  1. California Constitution Article 2 Section 10
  2. 2.0 2.1 State of California Initiative analysis
  3. Banks, Sandy (March 29, 2010). "Pot breaks the age barrier". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved on March 31, 2010. 
  4. Proposition 19 ballot title as announced on July 10, 2010 by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of California
  5. McNichol, Tom (July 24, 2009). "Is Marijuana the Answer to California's Budget Woes?". Time. Time Inc.,8599,1912113,00.html. 
  6. Marinucci, Carla (June 11, 2009). "Backers of legal pot eye ballot". 
  7. Summary of the States Legislative Analyst
  8. "Former Governor Johnson's statement". Retrieved on June 26, 2010. 
  9. McKinley, Jesse (July 19, 2010). "Blacks May Tilt Balance in Vote to Legalize Marijuana". Retrieved on July 19, 2010. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Grim, Ryan (July 8, 2010). "California Dems Endorse Pot Legalization, Proposition 19". Retrieved on July 8, 2010. 
  11. West, Jackson (July 20, 2010). "Surprise! Both Red and Blue Want Pot Legal". Retrieved on July 21, 2010. 
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 12.17 "Endorsements". Retrieved on July 6, 2010. 
  13. Buchanan, Wyatt (February 24, 2010). "Ammiano wants to make marijuana legal in state". Retrieved on April 24, 2010. 
  14. "Taking the next step for California", New Times, June 30, 2010
  15. Camin, Hector (September 5, 2010). "California's Prop 19, on legalizing marijuana, could end Mexico's drug war". Retrieved on September 6, 2010. 
  16. Bedard, Larry (July 15, 2010). "Opinion: Decriminalize marijuana: It's far less harmful than alcohol". Retrieved on July 18, 2010. 
  17. Hoeffel, John (March 25, 2010). "Measure to legalize marijuana will be on California's November ballot". Retrieved on April 29, 2010. 
  18. Russo, John (April 27, 2010). "Open Forum: Legalize Marijuana in California". Retrieved on April 27, 2010. 
  19. Stamper, Norm (April 20, 2010). "420: Put Down That Joint and Pick Up a Pen". Retrieved on April 20, 2010. 
  20. Arguments for and against the proposal, Official California voters guide,
  21. Downs, David, Daily Roundup (2010-07-17). "Sarah Palin Calls Bud a ‘Minimal Problem’; Vegas Drug Cops Execute Unarmed Father, East Bay Express". 
  22. Emery, Marc (June 5, 2010). "Why You Should Vote YES on PROPOSITION 19". Cannabis Culture. Retrieved on July 26, 2010. 
  23. Saillant, Catherine (June 28, 2010). "State NAACP backs marijuana legalization initiative". Retrieved on June 28, 2010. 
  24. Garofoli, Joe (May 19, 2010). "Up with dope! Oakland City Council first in CA to endorse pot legalization measure", The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on May 28, 2010. 
  25. "Humboldt County supervisors decide to endorse Prop. 19", Donna Tam, The Times-Standard, October 20, 2010
  26. CA NORML Admin (January 28, 2010). "Tax Cannabis 2010 Initiative Headed for November Ballot". California NORML. Retrieved on June 1, 2010. 
  27. Good, Chris (April 2, 2010). "The Push to Legalize Marijuana: It's Real". The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company. Retrieved on April 16, 2010. 
  28. Smith, F. Aaron (March 24, 2010). "Marijuana Reform Will Appear on California's November Ballot!". MPP Blog. Marijuana Policy Project. Retrieved on April 29, 2010. 
  29. Rush, George (April 11, 2010). "Head of American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten supports legalizing pot". Retrieved on April 11, 2010. 
  30. LEAP (August 19, 2010). "National Black Police Association Endorses Marijuana Legalization". Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Retrieved on August 19, 2010. 
  31. Cole, Jack. "LEAP Endorses "Tax & Regulate Cannabis 2010"". Retrieved on June 4, 2010. 
  32. Hoeffel, John (July 15, 2010). "Big union supports California measure to legalize marijuana". Retrieved on July 15, 2010. 
  33. Rosen, Michael (June 28, 2010). "Oakland stirs the pot on legalization". Retrieved on July 18, 2010. 
  34. "Bay area longshore workers want to legalize pot," San Francisco Chronicle, August 18, 2010
  35. Nagourney, Adam (September 13, 2010). "Marijuana Ballot Measure in California Wins Support of Union, Officials Say", The New York Times. Retrieved on September 15, 2010. 
  36. "L.A. County Democratic Party - Endorsements," Los Angeles County Democratic Party, September 15, 2010
  37. "SF Dems Give Key Endorsement to Prop 19," East Bay Express, August 12, 2010
  38. Molina, Joshua (September 4, 2010). "Santa Barbara Democrats endorse jail tax, oppose marijuana dispensary ban". The Daily Sound. Retrieved on September 16, 2010. 
  39. Eskenazi, Joe (July 20, 2010). "Marijuana-Legalizing Proposition 19 Gets Greenlight From California Young Democrats". San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved on July 21, 2010. 
  40. Hinkle, Mark (July 3, 2010). "California Prop 19: legalized pot coming to the California ballot in November". United States Libertarian Party. Retrieved on June 20, 2010. 
  41. Romero, Dennis (October 8, 2010). "'LULAC,' Huge Latino Group, Endorses Prop. 19, California's Marijuana Legalization Initiative", LA Weekly. Retrieved on October 10, 2010. 
  42. "Targeting Blacks for Marijuana: Possession Arrests of African Americans in California, 2004-08” Drug Policy Alliance, June 2010
  43. "The epidemic of pot arrests in New York City", Harry G. Levine, August 10, 2009.
  44. "The racism of marijuana prohibition", Los Angeles Times, September 7, 2009
  45. 45.0 45.1 "The consequences and costs of marijuana prohibition", University of Washington, 2009
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 "Benefits of Marijuana Legalization in California", Dale Gieringer, California NORML Report, October 2009
  47. "Legalize pot to cut crime, fill coffers", Gary Johnson, Sacramento Bee, June 22, 2010
  48. 48.0 48.1 Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, video
  49. "Effect of drug law enforcement on drug-related violence: Evidence from a scientific review", International Center for Science in Drug Policy, April 27, 2010.
  50. 50.0 50.1 "Drugs: To Legalize or Not", The Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2009
  51. "In the drug war, drugs are winning", Steve Chapman, Reason, March 29, 2010
  52. "Mexican drug cartels set up shop in California parks", Time,, August 22, 2009
  53. "Mexican drug lord officially thanks American lawmakers for keeping drugs illegal", Huffington Post, March 29, 2009
  54. "Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption", U.S. General Accounting Office, May 1998
  55. Drug War Addiction, Sheriff Bill Masters, Accurate Press, 2001
  56. "Report of the independent inquiry into the misuse of drugs act 1971", Police Foundation of the United Kingdom, 1999
  57. Marijuana is SAFER, So Why are we Driving People to Drink?, Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2009
  58. Los Angeles Times, "Feinstein supports campaign to defeat marijuana legalization measure", July 13, 2010
  59. Sacramento Bee, "Pot legalization ballot statements offer starkly different realities", July 14, 2010
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 60.3 60.4 60.5 60.6 Official Voter Guide arguments for and against Proposition 19
  61. Bay Area Reporter, "Some attorney general candidates opposed to marijuana initiative", April 1, 2010
  62. UPI, "Calif. pot measure called a safety issue", April 7, 2010
  63. Associated Press, "Medical pot advocates oppose Calif. legalization", September 21, 2010
  64. Huffington Post, "'I Gots Mine': Dispensary Owners Against Marijuana Legalization", July 14, 2010
  65. USA Today, "Law officers split on California legal pot fight", September 22, 2010
  66. Redding Record-Searchlight, "If state OKs pot, Redding might not", July 31, 2010
  67. Reuters, "Pot shops could ease California's fiscal jam", December 21, 2009
  68. Sacramento Bee, "California dazed and confused", January 24, 2010
  69. Los Angeles Times, "Don't legalize marijuana", January 28, 2010
  70. Metropolitan News-Enterprise, "Cooley to Brown: Do Not Approve Marijuana Ballot Title", April 20, 2010
  71. "The dark side of Proposition 19", Dick Schiller, Just Say No to 19, October 2, 2010
  72. Mercury News, "Alcohol industry antes up against Prop. 19", September 20, 2010
  73. Yamamura, Kevin (2010-10-15). "Feds say they will enforce pot laws in California even if Prop. 19 passes". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved on 2010-10-15. 
  74. Pot legalization gains momentum in California, Marcus Wohlsen, The Associated Press, October 8, 2009
  75. California Watch, Watchblog, "Would Prop. 19 change how state colleges deal with marijuana?", October 1, 2010
  76. The Atlantic, "Reformers: No Marijuana Legalization In California This Year...Ballot Measure In 2010?", July 17, 2009
  77. The Field Poll Release #2306, April 30, 2009
  78. San Diego Union Tribune, "Poll: Voters oppose pot legalization", July 8, 2010
  79. San Francisco Chronicle, "Bid to legalize pot is counter to U.S. trend", January 5, 2010
  80. SurveyUSA, "Results of SurveyUSA News Poll #16468: Should the State of California legalize the use of marijuana? Or not?"
  81. Public Policy Institute of California, "Californians and Their Government", May 2010
  82. Two Fifths Of Californians Have Tried Marijuana and More Want It Legalized
  83. 83.0 83.1 Associated Content, "Democrats to Go After the Stoner Vote, October 6, 2010
  84. "Law professors say control and tax cannabis"
  85. Website of No on 19
  86. "Debunking false fears about Prop. 19", October 18, 2010
  87. "Yes on Prop 19", October 8, 2010
  88. Endorsements: State-Wide Propositions, The Santa Cruz Weekly Editorial Board
  89. "Prop 19 about marijuana industry, not use", The Stanford Review Editorial Board, October 11, 2010
  90. "A reluctant yes on proposition 19", Steve Williams, October 15, 2010
  91. Bakersfield Californian, "No on Prop. 19: Pot initiative's issues too hazy", September 28, 2010
  92. Monterey Herald, "Legalized marijuana measure Proposition 19 is the right idea, but the wrong law", September 29, 2010
  93. Lompoc Record, "Proposition 19: Legalizing pot", September 30, 2010
  94. Long Beach Press-Telegram, "No on Proposition 19", October 9, 2010
  95. Los Angeles Times, "Snuff out pot measure", September 26, 2010
  96. Los Angeles Daily News, "Regulatory nightmare: Proposition 19 has too many flaws", September 28, 2010
  97. Modesto Bee, "Just say no to legalizing pot", September 26, 2010
  98. Sacramento Bee, "Prop 19 deserves to go up in smoke", October 1, 2010
  99. San Diego Union Tribune, "The promise is not the reality", October 3, 2010
  100. Pasadena Star News, "Our View: Legal Pot A Bad Idea", September 27, 2010
  101. Santa Rosa Press Democrat, "PD Editorial: No on 19", September 28, 2010
  102. San Bernardino Sun, "Prop. 19 has too many flaws", September 25, 2010
  103. New York Times, "Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California", October 27, 2009
  104. Initiatives & Referenda that failed to qualify, California Secretary of State
  105. Santa Cruz Drug Policy Examiner, "California has three initiatives filed to legalize marijuana", August 10, 2009
  106. Letter from Secretary of State to county clerks on failure to qualify
  107. KTVU, "Petitions to legalize marijuana submitted", January 28, 2010
  108. Associated Press, "Backers begin push to get pot measure on ballot"
  109. Expenditures on Tax Cannabis 2010
  110. Interim report on the random sampling check of Tax Cannabis signatures, February 12

Marijuana in 2010