MPP's Post-Election Wrap Up
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As you have probably heard, MPP's Nevada initiative, Question 9, was defeated last night, in an election dominated by a strong Republican/ conservative tide in Nevada and elsewhere. Still, almost 40% of Nevada voters rejected marijuana prohibition, and there were positive developments in marijuana-related elections elsewhere.
THE BAD NEWS
NEVADA: Question 9 was defeated 61-39, despite the heroic efforts of our campaign team. The election was marked by a strong conservative turnout reflected in all of the statewide votes. Some voters were probably influenced by the blizzard of disinformation orchestrated by White House "Drug Czar" John Walters, aimed at scaring voters. This was a huge disappointment to all of us, but our campaign put the effort to end marijuana prohibition on the national agenda in a way it hasn't been in years. Not only were four in 10 Nevada voters ready to end prohibition, but a TIME magazine poll prompted by our campaign showed that 72% oppose jailing responsible marijuana users.
ARIZONA: Proposition 203 was defeated 57-43. This complicated measure would have replaced criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine, set up a state-run distribution system to provide free medical marijuana to patients, and made a number of other changes in the state's drug laws. Walters campaigned heavily against this measure as well.
THE GOOD NEWS
MASSACHUSETTS: Nineteen local advisory measures urging marijuana decriminalization all appear to have passed, most with overwhelming margins. A local advisory measure supporting medical marijuana and another endorsing hemp cultivation passed easily as well.
MARYLAND: Medical marijuana supporter Bob Ehrlich was elected governor in a hotly-contested race. Ehrlich, a Republican member of Congress, is one of 42 cosponsors of Rep. Barney Frank's States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act. His opponent, Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, was approached during the campaign by medical marijuana supporters but refused to take a stand. This bodes well for our effort to get a medical marijuana bill passed in Maryland next year.
SAN FRANCISCO: In what may turn out to be the medical marijuana "shot heard 'round the world," San Francisco voters passed Proposition S by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Placed on the ballot by four members of the city Board of Supervisors after a wave of federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, the measure asked voters if the city should explore growing and distributing marijuana for seriously ill patients. Now that voters have responded with a resounding "YES," it will be up to the Board of Supervisors to implement that mandate. MPP plans to work with our many friends in San Francisco to make sure the voters' wishes are carried out.
In some ways it was a rough night, but we are immensely proud of the hard work of our staff and volunteers -- and grateful for your continuing support. We know we won't win every battle, but we will not give up until marijuana prohibition is just a distant, sad memory.