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Voters reject marijuana legalization

California's move to legalize marijuana was rejected Tuesday night with 53.7 percent of voters statewide opposed to Proposition 19, a ballot measure that sanctioned personal possession and cultivation of pot and allowed local governments to approve commercial production.

In Sonoma County, the statewide results were almost reversed, with 54 percent of voters favoring the measure with 70 percent of precincts reporting.

Shayne Khajehnoori of Santa Rosa, who calls himself a "California cannabis refugee," was among the local majority.

"It's good to be part of it," said Khajehnoori, who moved here from Georgia in February. "Everybody's watching California. What changes here changes all around."

Valerie Brown, chairwoman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, said she was not surprised by the local outcome.

"There's a different perspective here than in most of the counties," Brown said, noting that Sonoma County has been sympathetic to medical marijuana.

In six other counties — Marin, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Monterey and Lake — the measure also got better than 50 percent support.

Jill Ravitch, Sonoma County district attorney-elect, said she opposed Proposition 19 because it is "poorly drafted" and would be tied up in litigation if approved by voters.

Ravitch, who currently is Mendocino County's chief deputy district attorney, said she doubted that legalization would affect the large-scale pot gardens on public and private land, nor would it curb pot-related crime.

"There will always be a black market," Ravitch said, noting that interstate transport of pot would remain both illegal and profitable.


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