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Prop. 19: Marijuana initiative drew strongest support in Bay Area, but failed in 'Emerald Triangle'

November 3, 2010 |  1:01 pm

Proposition 19, the measure to legalize marijuana in California, drew its strongest support in the Bay Area, passing in San Francisco and five nearby counties.

San Francisco voters were most ready to see legal weed sold in their neighborhoods, favoring the measure 65% to 35%. Voters in the Central Coast counties of Monterey, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, as well as those in Alpine and Mono counties on the state’s eastern border, backed the initiative. Los Angeles County, where a quarter of the state’s voters live, tilted against the initiative, voting 53% to 47% against it.

Some cities in the county, including Los Angeles, were unprepared for the rapid increase in medical marijuana dispensaries and have struggled to regulate them. The heaviest opposition to Proposition 19 came in Colusa County, where 68% of the voters opposed it.

The measure would have allowed cities and counties to approve the commercial cultivation and retail sales of marijuana, as well as impose taxes. It would also have allowed adults 21 and older to grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana and possess up to an ounce.

Voters in the "Emerald Triangle," where a segment of the economy depends on marijuana, did not take a shine to Proposition 19. The initiative had sparked a vigorous debate among growers about whether legalized weed would help or hurt Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties.

Although the initiative could have allowed the underground industry to surface, possibly turning the region into the marijuana equivalent of California’s tourist-drawing wine country, it also could also have caused the price of marijuana to drop, possibly even precipitously.

The 11 counties that approved Proposition 19 are: Alameda, Alpine, Marin, Mono, Monterey, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma. Here's a map spelling it all out.


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-- John Hoeffel