"A lot of different theories were advanced for the defeat of Proposition 19. Law-enforcement officials, both major political parties, and the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor all opposed it. Some popular impetus for legalization had been sapped by rapidly declining penalties for recreational use (it had basically become like a sporadically enforced traffic offense), and thwarted by the refusal of federal law-enforcement officials to defer to state or local laws in this area. There was also a notable lack of enthusiasm for Prop 19 in Northern California pot-growing areas, which feared a major takeover of the industry by medical-marijuana distributors or even big tobacco companies. And since no other jurisdiction had at that point legalized pot, there were a lot of fears about the legalization regime's feasibility.
"Finally, and perhaps most important, 2010 was a midterm election, which invariably brings out an older, more conservative electorate.
"That will not be a problem in November."
Ed Kilgore at New York discusses California's upcoming proposition to legalize marijuana.