Despite last week's defeat in California of Proposition 19
, which would have legalized recreational marijuana, supporters of the ballot initiative are already gearing up to try again in 2012 and are optimistic that it will pass on a second try, the Los Angeles Times reports
Backers of the measure see this year's campaign as a trial run and say it enabled them to expand their base of support from the original activists, who set this year's campaign in motion, to a broader base that includes big-money donors as well as labor and civil rights leaders.
Those big-money donors are crucial because advocates were able to raise only a fraction of what they had hoped to spend on the campaign this year.
Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group, told the Times: "The question about legalizing marijuana is no longer when, it's no longer whether, it's how."
Voters rejected the proposition by a 54 percent to 46 percent vote. But the Times said a post-election survey by the pollster for the Prop 19 campaign found that while voters rejected this year's specific initiative, Californians favored legalization by 49 percent to 40 percent with 10 percent undecided. The undecideds were considered to be susceptible to arguments for legalization, according to the Times.
A 2012 legalization drive may also benefit from different dynamics than existed in the midterm elections. The measure had union backing because of the potential to create new jobs, but labor organizations were more focused on the statewide campaigns that included contests for governor and Senate.
Voters under 21 favored the measure by 2-to-1, but their turnout numbers were low. Legalization backers hope that getting a measure back on the ballot in 2012 will improve that, since young voters tend to turn out in higher numbers in presidential election years.