Buzz kill though it may be, California voters sent a message this week: They are not comfortable with the state triggering a confrontation with federal authorities over recreational use of marijuana.
Leading up to Tuesday's vote on the much-hyped Proposition 19, the federal government made crystal clear that while it is willing to abide medical marijuana in California and other states, it will not accept complete legalization.
There needs to be a national debate on whether to continue to criminalize marijuana, and Proposition 19 has helped spur that discussion.
But California would be wise not to quickly come back with another go-it-alone initiative to legalize pot. The state has too many other pressing problems that need attention.
Unfortunately, the leading proponent of Proposition 19 -- decisively defeated 54 percent to 46 percent -- is already talking about trying again with a ballot measure in 2012.
Richard Lee, founder of the Oaksterdam conglomerate in Oakland, should save his breath and his money. It would be much more helpful, for instance, to use that cash to subsidize medical marijuana for poor patients.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.mercedsunstar.com.