From the Nov. 15, 2010 issue of TIME Magazine
The convoluted condition of California's marijuana laws can be crystallized by this nugget of election news: Proposition 19, which would have legalized and taxed weed, was defeated following an opposition campaign that was supported, in part, by the state's pot growers. You see, medical marijuana is already a billion-dollar business, so the growers figured, Why mess with success? An estimated 3.4 million Californians toked up in 2008; some 400,000 do so daily. Legalizing California's No. 1 cash crop would only invite the agribusiness giants to muscle in. Joining growers to defeat Prop 19 were civic leaders, law-enforcement agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice. Foes of legal herb ran ads depicting a hazy future of stoned nurses in hospitals and pot-addled drivers on roads. In case the measure passed, several cities were prepared to tax the daylights out of Aunt Mary, but never mind: hypocrisy prevailed. Although in a related development, by order of the governor, Californians can no longer pay for their dope with welfare debit cards.