LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) Did Prop 19 pass in California? The answer is no.
Marijuana legalization proponents saw their dreams dashed on Tuesday as Californians voted by a wide margin to defeat a proposal to make recreational pot smoking legal.
California voters heeded warnings of legal chaos and that pot smokers would get behind the wheel and show up to work while high.
The legalization effort was losing by nine percentage points with more than two-thirds of precincts reporting. Backers showed support for the measure by gathering outside the campaign's headquarters to watch returns come in - some of them lighting up joints to mark the occasion.
The proposal - titled the "Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act" - would have allowed adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot, consume it in nonpublic places as long as no children were present and grow it in small private plots. Proposition 19 also would have authorized local governments to permit commercial pot cultivation, as well as the sale and use of marijuana at licensed establishments.
Supporters of Proposition 19 blamed Tuesday's outcome on the conservative leanings of older voters who participate in midterm elections. They also acknowledged that young voters had not turned out in sufficient numbers to secure victory, but said they were ready to try again in two years.
"It's still a historic moment in this very long struggle to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition," said Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Project. "Unquestionably, because of Proposition 19, marijuana legalization initiatives will be on the ballot in a number of states in 2012, and California is in the mix."
Tim Rosales, who managed the No on 19 campaign, scoffed at that attitude from the losing side.
"If they think they are going to be back in two years, they must be smoking something," he said. "This is a state that just bucked the national trend and went pretty hard on the Democratic side, but yet in the same vote opposed Prop 19."
California's marijuana proposal would have allowed adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot, consume it in nonpublic places as long as no children were present, and grow it in small private plots.
It also would have authorized local governments to permit commercial pot cultivation, as well as the sale and use of marijuana at licensed establishments.