Yes on Prop 19: Marijuana Legalization Gets its Number in California

Vote Yes on 19 poster from 1972

Yes on 19 Marijuana Legalization Campaign Poster from 1972. (Bolerium Books/LA Weekly)

While California confirmed its state’s marijuana legalization initiative would be on the November ballot months ago, today the state assigned proposition numbers to this year’s slate of initiatives. Get used to hearing about Proposition 19, which is where you’ll get to vote to legalize marijuana in California.

The state restarts the counter for proposition numbers every ten years, last doing so in 2008 (hence why the gay marriage initiative was Prop 8). While it’s inevitable proposition numbers will be reused, the LA Weekly notes a strange coincidence in the legalization initiative’s number. When pot legalization was on the ballot in 1972, it was also Proposition 19.

The Secretary of State’s office says it was a coincidence. But you can’t put anything past the people who named the state’s medical marijuana bill SB 420.

Anyway, if you still have your Prop. 19 buttons and posters, you won’t have to go buy new ones.

As you can probably tell, Prop. 19 failed in 1972. In fact, it wasn’t close. According to Ballotpedia, the measure went down by a vote of 66.5% to 33.5%. We’ll see in November how much attitudes have changed in the intervening 38 years.

The latest LA Times poll found 49% of Californians support marijuana legalization, with 41% opposed in May. Earlier that month, the Public Policy Institute found the state evenly split, with 48% supporting to 49% opposing.

I just really hope this year’s campaign can produce some equally awesome posters like the one here from the 1972 Prop 19 campaign for legalization.

Pot isn’t the only issue on which Californians will vote in November. Jon Walker has a rundown of the 10 initiatives on the ballot for Golden State voters.

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Michael Whitney

Michael Whitney

My name is Michael Whitney. I'm a progressive online organizer working with FDL Action. Rush Limbaugh called me "clueless" once. He went into rehab two days later.