Despite the optimism of marijuana legalization advocates that they eventually will prevail despite their defeat in California, they face stiff challenges, says the New York Times. This includes winning over older voters – who overwhelmingly rejected the measure – and wary elected officials. The 46 percent yes vote for California’s Proposition 19 is seen as a high-water mark for the movement, but advocates admit that the road to legalization will require new campaign ideas, more money, and a better message to overcome persistent cultural concerns about the drug.
“The Prop 19 campaign really did not do anything to help people get over their fear of marijuana, the substance,” said Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project. The California vote was in line with a pre-election Gallup survey that found 46 percent of Americans favoring legalization. Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance said long-term trends were in the legalization movement's favor, as were public perceptions of who marijuana users are. Now, he said, the drug is associated with “medical users, middle-class parents, nonrebellious youth.” Medical marijuana laws – on the books in 14 states and the District of Columbia – did not fare much better than Proposition 19. Voters rejected measures in Oregon and South Dakota, but a measure in Arizona passed by a tiny margin as the vote count ended Saturday.