When I heard Tuesday night that the California referendum to legalize small amounts of marijuana failed, I didn't give it much additional thought. It wasn't expected to pass, and both the framing of the initiative itself and the campaign in support of it had been roundly criticized. But I've just read that the final tally of the vote was 54-46. Though it failed everywhere except San Francisco, 46 percent is real support. Let's put it this way: Legalizing pot was a lot more popular than Carl Paladino.
Pundits are predicting that we'll see more of these initiatives in 2012, given the level of support that this one received. No doubt, but what I'm left with is a thought about demographics and the slightly more distant future. It's hard not to think that in five to ten years, as the oldest generation continues to die out and the 60s generation becomes the main body of seniors, these initiatives will pass easily. The most vocal supporters of the measure were dismissed as "stoners" just wanting to get high. I think they may just need to be patient.
Note: This blog draws in part on my experiences and observations interviewing political figures, writers, and analysts for "The Campbell Conversations" on WRVO. To hear past interviews I refer to in these posts, please go to the show's website. The views expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent Syracuse University, the Campbell Institute, or the WRVO Stations.
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