Voters reject marijuana, sharia law, UFO agency (Roundup)
Nov 3, 2010, 9:02 GMT
Los Angeles - Voters in the US made their voices heard in a string of ballot initiatives on Tuesday, nixing legal marijuana in California, sharia law in Oklahoma and an extraterrestrial agency in Denver, Colorado.
California's Proposition 19 would have legalized the recreational cultivation, use and taxation of marijuana, making California the first state in the country to legalize the widely used drug. But with 20 per cent of precincts reporting, the measure was trailing by 56 to 44 per cent.
California already has liberal laws that permit the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons, in contrast to federal law, which strictly bans the use of the substance.
Proponents of the measure pledged that they would raise the issue again in the 2012 general election.
'We always knew it would be an uphill battle,' said campaign representative Steve Gutwillig. 'Even in defeat, Prop 19 has clearly moved marijuana legalization into the mainstream of American politics.'
White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske welcomed the California vote: 'Today, Californians recognized that legalizing marijuana will not make our citizens healthier, solve California's budget crisis or reduce drug-related violence in Mexico.'
California voters defeated oil industry-backed Prop 23, which would have rolled back the state's landmark legislation to control greenhouse-gas emissions.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma became the first state in the US to ban Islamic sharia law.
State Question 755 passed with 70 per cent of the vote. It amends the Oklahoma constitution to forbid courts in Oklahoma to consider sharia or international law in reaching their decisions.
The measure was proposed by Republican State Representative Rex Duncan, who said he was inspired to propose the constitutional amendment even though there have been no cases in Oklahoma where judges had relied on international or sharia law.
'I would describe this as a pre-emptive strike,' he said. 'We don't want to let it get a toe-hold.'
Local Muslims said it was an example of anti-Muslim bigotry.
'There's no threat of sharia law coming to Oklahoma and America, period,' Saad Mohammed of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City said. 'It's just a scare tactic.'
In Denver, a proposal to establish a Commission for Extraterrestrial Affairs was voted down, according to local reports. Initiative 300 was designed to interact with aliens should they make an appearance in the city, but was voted down by more than 84 per cent of voters.
In Washington state, voters rejected a tax on the super-rich that had been supported by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the richest man in America. The measure had been opposed by other Microsoft executives who feared it would interfere with attracting top business talent.
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