Wes Woods II, Staff Writer
Created: 11/12/2010 03:13:29 PM PST

With the defeat of Proposition 19, local supporters and opponents are anticipating the next step in marijuana’s potential legalization.

Claremont McKenna College political science professor Jack Pitney predicts marijuana legalization supporters will look for an increase in younger voters, who are more supportive of marijuana legalization, for victory in 2012.

“The opponents are going to have to work on their strategy for 2012,” Pitney said. “You can’t assume the electorate will have the same demographic characteristics next time. Next time will be a tougher fight.”

The proposition, defeated on the Nov. 2 ballot, would have decriminalized for ages 21 and older cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, but barring its use in the presence of minors and in public.

Residents also would have been allowed to grow marijuana in a 5-foot-by-5-foot space on their property and transport or possess up to one ounce.

Pitney said he felt Proposition 19 would lose, but next time supporters wouldn’t get caught flat-footed on accusations the proposition could encourage abuse in the workplace.

“But no amount of wording is going to change one big problem,” Pitney said. “Possession is still going to be a federal offense.”

Pitney said he felt it was too early for advertising but not for strategizing on how to word a new proposition in support of marijuana legalization and get a clear message out in 2012, a presidential election year.

“But it’s early and we don’t know what the world will look like in 2012,” Pitney said. “In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best year for putting it on the ballot. With a midterm election, an older electorate is less sympathetic to a measure like this.”

Chino resident Darrell Kruse, who operated a medical marijuana dispensary in Claremont until court order shut it down in 2007, said he was neutral on Proposition 19 but felt it would fail.

“It’s harder to convince a questioning city council, governing body or whatever, it’s hard to put forth the belief in their mind the people are for it,” Kruse said. “You’ve got to have the support of the people. It failed, so that means the people weren’t for it.”

Kruse said he is now an owner of All Green Growers Associates Collective in Canyon Country. He is not optimistic for 2012 because he thinks the “same vague rules” would get defeated again.

“I think they should get defeated,” Kruse said. “I would be for it if there was better legislation for a better opportunity for not only recreational but for medical marijuana. The next step is to strengthen medical marijuana rules so people have safe access all across the state.”

Paul Chabot, founder of the Coalition for a Drug Free California and the Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition, said he knew Proposition 19 would fail and a similar measure will lose in 2012.

“We think voters today are a lot more educated on the overall drug legalization harm that can come to communities, seeing firsthand what’s happened to cities across California with medical marijuana,” Chabot said. “There’s over 200 cities now that have banned medical marijuana dispensaries,” he said.

“Voters here in San Bernardino and Riverside counties overwhelmingly voted against Proposition 19,” Chabot said, adding there were few areas who voted in favor of it.

“There was a lot of money behind Proposition 19 compared to our side,” Chabot said, but it was not special to California that marijuana legalization failed.

“Overwhelmingly across the country the country we think the tide is turning,” Chabot said.

He added his group will go on the offensive against marijuana legalization in 2012.

“We’ll ask voters to reconsider Proposition 215 (the 1996 law that approved medical cannabis in the state) based on all the problems its brought to communities in California,” he added.

Jan Werner, vice president of The Clearview Lake Corp. which runs collectives in Bloomington and Corona, said he wants any 2012 pro-marijuana measure to have its wording changed.

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