The Swiss Parliament Monday rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana by a vote of 106 to 70. The vote was on a popular initiative to force a nationwide vote on legalization. Proponents of the measure had handed in 106,000 signatures in January 2006.
Despite the no vote, the measure will still come before the Swiss Senate for debate. It could eventually end up going directly to the voters, where it would need to win an outright majority as well as a majority in over half of the country's 26 cantons.
The Swiss government itself proposed marijuana legalization in 2003, but that measure eventually lost, too, by a closer margin than this year.
The measure was opposed by the center-right majority, whose members argued it would "send the wrong message" to young people. Proponents of the measure, including some members of the centrist Radical Party, as well as Socialists, said keeping marijuana illegal would only fuel the black market while failing to protect minors.
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