Supporters of the state’s Proposition 19 have spent much time in recent weeks rebutting opposition from high-profile leaders in the state and nationally. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) director Gil Kerlikowske visited the state about two weeks ago to argue that passage of the measure would worsen the problem of marijuana addiction. An option on the table for the Obama administration if Prop. 19 is approved involves following the recommendation of several former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) directors who want Washington to challenge the measure in court.
Then late last week, California’s senior U.S. senator, Dianne Feinstein, formally expressed her opposition to the ballot measure, which would allow county and local governments to determine whether they want to legalize and regulate the drug. Feinstein’s stance led to this comment from Stephen Gutwillig, California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the main proponent of Prop. 19: “California’s senior senator has a well-know soft spot for costly, punitive approaches to drug issues, despite ample evidence of their ineffectiveness and unpopularity.”
The final Field Poll to be conducted prior to the election, released this week, indicated 49% opposition to Prop. 19 and 42% support, after the numbers were pretty much the reverse in a September poll. The latest survey was conducted by phone Oct. 14-26 and included just over 1,500 registered voters.