Marijuana lovers vow to get new pot prop on ballot - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Marijuana lovers vow to get new pot prop on ballot

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A majority of voters rejected Proposition 19 on Election Day. Now, supporters of the controversial measure say they are not giving up on legalizing marijuana in California.

Proposition 19 failed by a 46 to 54 percent margin Tuesday, and while supporters of legalizing pot say they may have lost the battle at the ballot box, but they say they haven't lost the war.

Advocates of the failed measure that would have legalized small amounts of pot for recreational use are vowing to put it back on the ballot in 2012. On Tuesday, Prop. 19 garnered 46 percent of the vote -- more than 3.4 million votes.

" I think we accomplished a huge amount by getting more votes than the Republican candidate for governor," Yes on 19 campaign worker Ben Cisneros said.

Proposition 19 would have allowed adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, permitted commercial pot cultivation and the sale of marijuana. Supporters say it would have generated millions in tax revenue and allowed law enforcement to focus on more violent crimes. But leading up to Tuesday's vote, opponents blasted those arguments.

"This does not regulate the use of marijuana. It leaves it up to 480 cities and 58 counties around the state of California to come up with some type of regulation that would be extremely confusing and costly at best," San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.

"It would make California the nation's drug dealer and jeopardizes public safety," San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said.

Proposition 19 proponents say despite Tuesday's defeat, significant inroads were made.

"What we accomplished to a large degree was people are having serious talks about it. Like anything else it's a matter of time and a matter of political will. Prohibition is a terrible policy," Cisneros said.

Analysts say that Prop. 19 may have a better shot at passing in two years during the presidential election, which tends to drive broader voter turnout. This midterm election, turnout was especially low among younger, more liberal voters.

Just last month, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed legislation that made possession of up to an ounce of marijuana the equivalent of a traffic ticket with a fine of under $100 and no criminal record.

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