California voters rejected the latest attempt to legalize recreational marijuana use by rejecting Proposition 19 on Nov. 2. If approved, the ballot measure would have made it legal for state residents 21 or older to grow small amounts of pot for personal use.
The latest totals reveal that approximately 56 percent of California voters opposed the change. Some backers of Prop. 19 said that the election feels like a victory despite a defeat and they plan on raising the question again in 2012.
"This is the first time major elected officials and labor unions and civil rights organizations have endorsed a marijuana legalization measure," Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told ABC News. "The debate is less about whether to legalize marijuana and increasingly about how to legalize marijuana."
Many opponents of Prop. 19 believe that legalizing marijuana is a threat to public safety and it wouldn't generate much tax revenue. White House drug policy director Gil Kerlikowske was happy with the 'no' decision from voters, saying that marijuana use is associated with voluntary treatment for addiction, fatal drugged-driving accidents and mental illness.
In Arizona and South Dakota, voters shot down measures that would have legalized medical marijuana. In Oregon, voters rejected a law that would have allowed medical marijuana to be sold in dispensaries.