Several months ago, we warned that several efforts to legalize the general use of pot in California and Colorado could sour voters on the idea of medical marijuana – despite the unbridled optimism expressed by those leading the charge.
Our thinking: It’s simply too much, too soon. Many people are still getting accustomed to having medical pot shops on every block. Asking them to help pave the way for the recreational use of marijuana – and the abundance of new stores it would bring – could create a backlash.
So it comes as no surprise to us that efforts to legalize weed in California appear to be losing traction with voters. A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that just 46 percent of voters surveyed support legalization vs. 50 percent who oppose such a measure. That’s a bad sign, as political experts say you need a much higher level of initial support (60 percent to be safe).
Voters in California, it seems, might not be as tolerant of marijuana as some people thought. In fact, no one even appears to be coming out and supporting the efforts monetarily, according to Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University. Lee, who is spearheading one of the efforts and was the main force behind a previous attempt to legalize marijuana in California (Prop. 19), went so far as to say his initiative is pretty much dead.
Other groups in California vow to press on with their attempts to get a measure on the 2012 ballot, and some prominent MMJ figures in Colorado are in the process of gathering signatures to do the same as well. But, as a dispensary owner, you probably shouldn’t count on marijuana being regulated like wine any time soon. We just don’t think voters are ready for that much change so quickly.