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Smoke Signals

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by Superjoint, Nov 8, 2002.

  1. By Andrew Kiraly
    Source: Las Vegas Mercury

    Holed up in the back room of the Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement offices, campaign manager Billy Rogers was wound tighter than a joint early Tuesday night. Swiveling from the TV to a laptop and back again, he was hoping to get his finger on the pulse of the Question 9 vote, but the state's website was down. The early numbers that were up--a 74 percent "no" vote as tallies trickled in--left Rogers unruffled.
    What happened if it didn't pass? Was there a Plan B?

    "We've only got Plan A--to win," a grimly resolute Rogers said. "I'm not even going to think about the what-ifs."

    It took a talking head to break the tension. On the television, KLAS Channel 8 analyst Jon Ralston made the crack that--nyuk nyuk--Question 9 supporters must have been running the state's website. Rogers gave him the finger as a round of groans went up.

    But who really got the last laugh? Conceding defeat shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday, NRLE members and other allies cited a number of factors that had worked against their campaign. Other ballots initiatives, such as Question 2, brought out a "conservative wave," Walters said. Robert Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, pointed to the campaign's failure to convince voters--particularly the older demographic--that decriminalization means more regulation, not less. And final-phase efforts to get out 65,000 Question 9-sympathetic voters to the poll failed to show numbers they were hoping for.

    "The campaign did a great job at the grassroots level," said Andy Anderson, a retired police officer and former president of police umbrella group Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs. "But it just failed to take out the fear factor that decriminalization is going to lead to kids smoking marijuana and people driving under the influence."

    At the concession press conference, where the mood was amicably bummed out, pro-9ers gave a brief press conference with the standard back-patting and reiteration of the group's stance. But where to go from here? Local and national decriminalization forces offered a shrug--and a wink.

    "For the immediate future, we've got no specific plans, just more public education," said the Marijuana Policy Project's Kampia. He did point to promising developments elsewhere, such as in San Francisco, where a ballot initiative passed Tuesday directing the city to explore growing its own medical marijuana for the seriously ill.

    Otherwise, marijuana law reformers plan to quietly regroup to mull their next step. Some mulling is definitely in order; in many ways Nevada was the last stop on the relax-pot-laws party train.

    Wrapping up 39 percent of the "yes" vote, the state takes its place in a growing line of near-misses that spans three decades. In 1972, the California Marijuana Initiative garnered 34 percent of the vote; 1986 saw the Oregon Marijuana Initiative take 26 percent. Most promisingly, a 2000 ballot question in Alaska (where, before 1990, owning up to four ounces of marijuana was legal) that would decriminalize possession and even public use took 41 percent of the vote. The group Free Hemp in Alaska plans to mount another campaign to get a ballot question on 2004.

    Call it failing your way to success. Will the NRLE follow the lead of their allies up north? Rogers dodged the question of whether the NRLE would mount another campaign, but said he did consider 39 percent of the vote a big-picture victory.

    "This is the first of many battles," Rogers said. "We've got 36 to 37 percent support nationwide for reforming marijuana laws, and it's growing. Remember, this is a generational thing, and as Baby Boomers get older, things will change. This will happen. It's inevitable."

    Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani suggested everyone retire to a club across the street for some "legal drugs." The subtext: Remember, once upon a time, drinking was illegal, too.

    Smoke Signals: The Question 9ers Didn't Have the Votes, But They've Got a Generation

    Source: Las Vegas Mercury (NV)
    Author: Andrew Kiraly
    Published: Thursday, November 07, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Las Vegas Mercury
    Website: http://www.lasvegasmercury.com/
    Contact: gschumacher@lasvegasmercury.com

    Related Articles & Web Sites:


    Marijuana Policy Project
  2. It is important to put on the best sell of marijuana use.
    Pointing out the benefits of legal weed.

    society could mend relationships with those that choose to get high. There is a giant wedge in the heart of society that prevents society from enjoying a relationship with you and I.

    police could focus on truely harmful people

    MJ is a great way to relax and meditate.

    MJ is a wonderful sexual intercourse enhancement.

    Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness!


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