By Russ Bellville/AlterNet
California’s Prop 19 will be the most talked-about ballot initiative in the November election. This measure would make lawful the possession and sharing of one ounce of marijuana outside the home and allow for personal cultivation of a small marijuana garden and possession of its harvest in the home. California cities and counties would be able to opt-in to commercial sales, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. Existing prohibitions against driving under the influence and working under the influence would be maintained and prohibitions against furnishing marijuana to minors would be strengthened.
After almost 100 years of marijuana prohibition in California, marijuana is more popular and accepted than ever. Prohibition has clearly failed. Prop 19 gives us another choice, one that benefits not just those who enjoy the herb, but the entire state of California and ultimately, the nation and the world. Whether you are a regular marijuana user now, an occasional toker back in the day, or you’ve never touched the stuff, there are many compelling economic, social, public safety, and civil libertarian reasons to support its legalization. Here are nineteen reasons for six distinct groups of Californians to vote Yes on Prop 19:
For the Concerned Parents
1. To make pot more difficult for kids to buy. It might seem counter-intuitive to some, but illegal marijuana is much easier to acquire than regulated marijuana because weed dealers don’t check ID’s. Four out of five high school seniors, more than three in five sophomores, and two in five middle schoolers (8th grade) say marijuana is “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get. One third of 16-17-year-olds say marijuana is easiest to buy, not cigarettes, alcohol, or prescription drugs. Two out of five teens say they can get marijuana in a day; almost one in four can get marijuana in an hour. Obviously letting unregulated dealers control the marijuana market is not protecting your kids from access to marijuana. On the other hand, aggressive enforcement of ID carding for minors, combined with public education have led to some of the lowest rates of teen alcohol andtobacco use ever recorded. Prop 19enacts the same common sense ID carding for marijuana as we use for martinis and Marlboros.
2. To make pot more difficult for kids to sell in school. Regardless of what regulations we put on marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco, there will be some kids who manage to get a hold of it. But part of what makes marijuana so easy for teens to buy is that they can all find in their high school one of the one million teens nationally who are dealing it. Legal access to marijuana for adults removes the criminal risk markup that makes pot so profitable. After all, when was the last time you heard of a beer dealer in a high school hallway? Prop 19eliminates the huge profit that entices youngsters to sell marijuana.
A qualified opinion
Former San Jose Chief of Police Joseph D. McNamara explains how the war on marijuana has completely failed. He explains that by taxing and controlling cannabis, we’ll generate billions of dollars for our local communities, cut down on violent crime, and put violent cartels out of business.
Post: Conrado Garcia Jamin
- 19 Reasons Pot Should Be Legal (alternet.org)
- “19 Reasons for Every Californian to Vote Yes on Prop 19” and related posts (norml.org)
- The intelligent argument for legalizing pot (mnn.com)
- 7 Tips for California: The Smart Way to Legalize Pot (healthland.time.com)
- Steve Bloom: Legalization or Bust: A Brief History of Marijuana Prohibition (huffingtonpost.com)