Bay Area Pot Smokers Undeterred By Defeat Of Prop 19

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Mike Sugerman’s About the Bay
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The battle over recreational marijuana use took a big hit last week when voters rejected Proposition 19, the proposal to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California.

But if recent behavior on the streets of San Francisco was any indication, Prop 19’s defeat didn’t stop smokers from lighting up.

KCBS’ Mike Sugerman Reports From His Travels, About The Bay:

“Is that marijuana?” KCBS reporter Mike Sugerman asked.

“I think so,” the man responded as he inhaled in downtown San Francisco during the Giants’ World Series victory celebration.

“It’s ten in the morning!”

“The Giants won the World Series,” the man explained.

“Oh, wake and bake, huh?” Sugerman suggested.

“It’s not like we don’t do it every day.”

Sugerman wasn’t the only one who noticed the pungent odor during the parade.

“Kind of having a mini heart attack, I’m not sure what it’s from. Maybe the electricity in the crowd, maybe the smell of Prop 19, I’m not sure,” said Giants closer Brian Wilson, making reference to the prolific pot smoking during a speech at last Wednesday’s celebration.

In fact, San Francisco’s penchant for public pot smoking became headline news during the World Series.

“This is San Francisco and I can tell you, right over there, there are some people smoking weed. Because it’s coming this way, we are truly in San Francisco. Hey, I’m standing here and it’s like that’s not cigarettes, that’s weed, that’s weed,” Dallas TV reporter Newy Scruggs declared during a report near AT&T Park. “We’re not in New York, okay. Nobody’s going to spit on us, nobody’s going to come up here and tell us that we’re bad people. We’re in San Francisco. People are smoking weed over there, they don’t care. They want to see their team win but they’re all half buzzed out.”

The Giants’ incredible winning streak clearly put San Franciscans in a celebratory mood. Still, their behavior wasn’t much of a departure from a typical day on the streets of San Francisco.

“Yeah, it’s part of the culture, perhaps,” one man suggested.

“People just ignoring the laws, including the police,” offered another. “They don’t stop it.”

In fact, San Francisco law mandated that marijuana enforcement was to be the lowest priority for law enforcement.

While Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opposed Proposition 19, he did sign a law that decriminalized marijuana use throughout California.

“Smoking and simple possession is an infraction now because of the Schwarzenegger law,” explained longtime marijuana advocate and Prop 19 co-author Jeff Jones. “It’s going to be looked at as a very simple traffic ticket citation after January 1.”

“We don’t need to continue a policy that puts adults in jail for something that simply is now medically legal,” Jones added.

“I do it all the time, when I walk around with my dad, when I walk around with any of my friends, they like some weed, yeah,” one young woman described her public pot behavior.

“The only thing the cops ever really do if they catch you smoking weed is check you for warrants,” a self-proclaimed San Francisco pothead offered. “If you’re clean they just take it and don’t even write you a ticket.”

“I smoked marijuana in the movie and a lot of people ask me did you really smoke marijuana in this movie or was it just fake? I said no, I really smoked it,” Schwarzenegger once said in an old Hollywood interview. “And I also inhaled.”

Jones indicated he would seek another marijuana-legalizing ballot measure in 2012.

Opponents were expected to raise the same concerns about public safety and enforcement.

In the meantime, it appeared San Francisco smokers were undeterred by Prop 19’s defeat.

“You see it everywhere. People smoking it on the streets almost on every corner,” summed up one man.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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