A World Series between Texas and San Francisco promises to produce a culture clash or two, and it hasn’t disappointed, as this segment by a Dallas-Fort Worth TV reporter demonstrates:
In response to the anchor’s question, no, it’s not legal out there. But it might be after Tuesday. California’s Proposition 19 on this year’s ballot would legalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and allow cities and counties to legalize and tax retail sale.
Polls report that the proposition is likely to be defeated, but it’s hard to say for sure. According to Ruth Bernstein, a pollster on the pro-legalization campaign, polls get one kind of answer when the question is posed by a human being, and another when it’s posed by a machine.
“Bernstein was so curious that on Oct. 13-14, the campaign ran side-by-side polls – one using live questioners, the other using automated voices. When a live person asked, 41 percent of the respondents favored legalizing pot, but when asked by an automated questioner, 56 percent said they supported legalization, according to the internal poll.
Among men, 42 percent told a live interviewer they backed legalization – but 61 percent backed legalizing dope to an automated questioner.”
In recent days, George Soros has even joined the fight, contributing a million dollars to the pro-legalization campaign. Writing recently in the Wall Street Journal, Soros argued that “regulating and taxing marijuana would simultaneously save taxpayers billions of dollars in enforcement and incarcerations costs, while providing billions of dollars in revenue annually.” It would “also reduce crime, violence and corruption associated with drug markets, and the violations of civil liberties and human rights that occur when large numbers of otherwise law abiding citizens are subject to arrest. Police could focus on serious crime instead.”
Putting Proposition 19 on the ballot may have another effect as well.
Back in 2004, you may remember, Georgia Republicans put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that forbid the state Legislature from legalizing gay marriage. There really wasn’t much danger of that happening, to put it mildly; the real purpose of the amendment was to draw social conservatives to the ballot box, where presumably they would also cast votes for Republican candidates.
That’s apparently the hope in California as well. Even if Proposition 19 fails to pass, backers are hoping that its presence on the ballot will draw young people to the voting booths who otherwise wouldn’t participate.
Of course, if those same young people are sitting at home stoned come Tuesday, getting them off the couch and out the door might be a problem.