After taking a serious look at legalizing marijuana, Californians voted yesterday to reject Proposition 19, which would have made the state the first to allow the drug to be sold for recreational use, the Los Angeles Times reports. The vote was 54 percent to 46 percent against it, with 92 percent of the results in. The measure drew strong support from voters younger than 25, but those voters did not turn out in unusually high numbers, said an exit poll. The initiative failed to win over moderate voters who make up the state’s decisive swing vote.
The San Francisco Bay Area was the only region to tilt toward the measure, but it did so just slightly. In Los Angeles County, where a quarter of California’s voters live, the initiative lost. Despite the loss, marijuana-legalization advocates said the proposition had transformed talk about legal pot into a serious policy matter. Legalization advocates are planning new measures at the 2012 ballot in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and very likely California. It was the second time in two years that California voters have rejected an initiative to soften penalties for drug crimes.