On November 2, 2010 a proposal in California will be brought up regarding Proposition 19. Proposition 19 legalizes the distribution, sale, and cultivation of marijuana. With seven more weeks to go, tensions are starting to rise and issues on whether or not cannabis should be legalized are being questioned. Many citizens feel that legalizing Marijuana could be the 21st century ‘Gold Rush’ of California. Predicting the outcome of the ballot’s however, is almost impracticable due to fact that there are various outlooks on this certain matter. Some individuals, such as former policemen, congress men, and billionaire business men favour proposition 19, while others, such as pot growers and dealers, savour the idea of marijuana being prohibited.
On Monday (September 13, 2010) prior and current staff members who were part of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stated at a news conference how gravely concerned they were by the upcoming ballot. The DEA wrote to U.S. attorney General Eric Holder requesting to sue California, if the vote was passed. Holder was urged to use the Federal Supremacy Clause which gives the Federal courts the right to obstruct laws that are passed by state or local jurisdiction. Individuals who support the use of marijuana for recreational purposes feel that by legalizing marijuana, overcrowded jails would decrease in size. Marijuana is also known to be safer than cigarettes and alcohol combined. On top of that, the California Board of Equalization can see a $1.4 billion in possible tax profits. The purpose of the bull is to raise the revenue and cut the costs of enforcement.
Taxing marijuana is the reason why pot growers and dealers feel the need to vote no on proposition 19. Kristi (last name not given due to secrecy issues), 68, has been cultivating as early as 1970. Growing earns her about $2, 600 a month. However, ever since the legalization of marijuana for medical use, prices per pound have dropped. She relies solely on the income she gets from the crops. Now she, as well as other cultivators, fears prices will continue to drop. “I never thought I would depend on it. I feel that way now,” says Kristi, “I’m kind of greedy right now. I’m not quite ready to let go. I haven’t got a plan to get me through…its weird to find myself saying it. Morally I know it’s the right thing. I might pass judgment on people who put themselves first financially, but here I am doing it.”
The more controversial topic is how to integrate the recreational use of marijuana. In order to be able to legally smoke marijuana for leisure purposes, it must rid itself of its dissident image and become part of the mainstream. Citizens of California are able to use cannabis for personal medical use already. The use of medical marijuana was legalized on November 5, 1996, and was passed with 5,382,915 (55.6%) votes. It allows patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation, and the patient’s authorized cannabis dispensary, to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical use, and has since been expanded to shelter an increasing system of communal and mutual distribution.
As time runs out, citizens of California are urged to become aware of the bill and vote on what they feel is best for the state. Final results will be given after the ballots are registered and counter. Voting day will be on November 2nd, 2010.
By: Roxanne Allen, IB12