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Prop. 19 in ashes
YES 2,744 34.44%
NO 5,244 65.56%
YES 5,026 66.79%
NO 2,499 33.21%
YES 1,624 20.74%
NO 6,206 79.26%
YES 5,288 69.34%
NO 2,338 30.66%
YES 4,464 57.48%
NO 3,302 42.52%
YES 2,207 29.19%
NO 5,353 70.81%
YES 2,970 38.77%
NO 4,690 61.23%
YES 4,668 61.75%
NO 2,892 38.25%
YES 2,404 32.18%
NO 5,066 67.82%
Efforts to legalize marijuana may have gone up in smoke, but the failure of Proposition 19 has done little to settle the debate.
Prop. 19, which would have legalized marijuana in California, was defeated Tuesday with nearly 54 percent of voters rejecting what would have been a historic reversal of the state's public health and safety policy.
Locally, many law enforcement officials are relieved the controversial measure was rejected, but not everyone shares their enthusiasm.
"It's just too bad we can't move out of the dark ages," said Sam Mann, a Glenn County Prop. 19 supporter.
Others, like Tehama County's Jerry Doran, were downright angry.
"I've been in a wheelchair for 25 years and the doctor says it is the only thing that can help with my pain," Doran said Wednesday. "And now it is still going to be very dangerous for me to get my medicine."
But, for public safety officials like Willows police Chief Bill Spears, the failure of Prop. 19 nips several problems in the bud.
"They way the bill was written would have caused problems that far exceed any perceived benefits," Spears said.
Spears and others warned that police currently have no toxicological tests or objective standards to determine if a person is under the influence while driving. Finding those tests could also prove tricky, experts said, as marijuana can stay in a person's system for weeks or even months.
"I think we saved a lot of people on our highways and a lot of people from lung cancer," said Colusa County Sheriff Scott Marshall. "Hopefully, we can be done with this issue now."
That is not likely, marijuana advocates have promised.
Pointing to the 46 percent of voters that supported the idea, pot enthusiasts have already vowed to bring the issue back to the ballot in the future.
Glenn County's Tony Kirkpatrick said he believes that, despite election results, a majority of California residents probably do support recreational marijuana use, but either cannot or will not come forward.
"A lot of people that would have voted 'yes' were not able to vote because they have (felony marijuana) convictions on their records," Kirkpatrick said.
Detractors counter that many convicted felons would likely support having their crimes legalized.
Kirkpatrick said he believes the more than 3 million votes in favor should be a sign for small community politicians and leaders that marijuana is more popular than they may be willing to acknowledge.
"More than 2,000 people voted for it in Glenn County," Kirkpatrick said. "I hope officials realize that means people would probably support opening a (medical marijuana dispensary.)"
Perhaps not surprisingly, Spears and Marshall draw the exact opposite conclusion based on the same data.
"I think it's a referendum on (medical marijuana) abuses," Spears said.
Comdr.. Eric Maher, who runs the Tehama County drug task force, said since California voters approved Prop. 215 in 1996 he has personally seen "tons of abuses."
"I think residents voted for it because they thought they were helping people with cancer or something similar," Maher said. "But, now anyone can get it for any reason."
But while public safety officials say it is already too easy to get marijuana, other claim it is still too hard - and too dangerous - to get their medicine.
"My doctor told me to just get it on the black market," Doran said. "He said the pills I was taking were destroying my liver and this would be better for me and it is."
Doran said he "vaporizes" his marijuana, a process that allows the user to get high without inhaling smoke to cut down on lung damage.
"We want to take the crime part out of the equation so people can safely get the help they need," Doran said.
Whatever the outcome of this or any future marijuana debates, it seems highly likely the issue will continue to blaze for years to come.