Post by (Chanel Taschen) Nov 2010
California voters rejected a ballot measure that would make their state the first in the union to legalize the personal use and possession of marijuana. The measure was one of 160 ballot proposals being decided in 37 states.
Under the pot-legalization proposal – Proposition 19 on the state ballot – adults 21 and over could possess up to an ounce of pot, consume it in nonpublic places as long as no children were present and grow it in small private plots. The initiative was written to authorize local governments to permit commercial pot cultivation, as well as the sale and use of marijuana at licensed establishments.
Proponents pitched it as a sensible experiment that would provide much-needed revenue for the cash-strapped state, dent the drug-related violence in Mexico by causing pot prices to plummet, and reduce marijuana arrests that they say disproportionately target minority youth.
The state branches of the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens endorsed the measure, as did several retired police chiefs.
Prop 19 trailed in recent opinion polls. Every major newspaper, both political parties, the two candidates for governor and all but a handful of leading politicians opposed it.
Federal officials said that they would continue enforcing laws against marijuana possession and sales and that they had not ruled out suing to overturn the California initiative if it passed.
Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved three measures that had dismayed some progressive and immigrants-rights groups. One prohibits state courts from considering international law or Islamic law when deciding cases. Another makes English the state's "common and unifying language," while the third requires a government-issued photo ID in order to vote.
Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan of Sand Springs, sponsor of the measure on international and Islamic law, called it a pre-emptive strike designed to close the door on activist judges "legislating from the bench or using international law or Sharia law."
Members of the Muslim community called the question an attack on Islam, and some said they are prepared to challenge the measure in court.
The English-language measure was written by Republican Rep. Randy Terrill of Moore, who has said that English and the "melting pot" process that it makes possible have "made the United States the most successful multiethnic nation in history."
The measure drew opposition from several groups, including the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma, which said the question discriminates against new citizens who want to do business with the state.
Under the voter ID measure, voters without identification would be able to sign a sworn statement and cast a provisional ballot. The measure drew opposition from the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma, among other groups, which wrote that the amendment raises "a new barrier" for all Oklahomans, especially the elderly, poor and minorities.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma voters also approved a proposal aimed at nullifying the segment of the new federal health care law requiring people to have health insurance. Similar measures were on the ballots in Arizona and Colorado.
•In South Dakota, voters rejected a measure to legalize medical marijuana. A medical marijuana measure also was on Arizona's ballot, and Oregon voters were deciding whether to expand the state's current medical marijuana law by authorizing state-licensed dispensaries.
•Houston voters decided that the city should discontinue using red-light cameras.
•For the first time since the 1990s, there were no measures to ban same-sex marriage. But in Iowa, voters were deciding whether to oust three state Supreme Court justices who joined a unanimous 2009 ruling that legalized gay marriage there.
•Colorado voters were deciding on an anti-abortion "personhood" amendment – similar to one rejected in 2008 – that would give unborn fetuses human rights in the state constitution.