Legalized Marijuana: The 21 Century Gold Rush of California?

The State of California

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.

Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger smoking a joint on the documentary "Pumping Iron" from 1976.

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


9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Majid Ahy on September 16, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    *Marijuana is also known to be safer than cigarettes and alcohol combined*

    True words.


  2. Roxanne’s a legend.


  3. Posted by Jamie Rinder on September 25, 2010 at 9:36 PM

    I hope my students in pre-IB are reading this!! Poor Kristi…


    • How about you print it out for them, Jamie? 🙂 It’s a win-win situation: you help market the Itch, and by doing so, hopefully stirring up an amusing, if not heated debate with your pre-IBers 😀


  4. Posted by Jamie Rinder on September 26, 2010 at 4:27 AM

    Will do! They managed to debate this hot issue rather well earlier in the week – and this article touches on many of the same arguments that they debated. Well done, the Itch team!


  5. Posted by sebastian on September 29, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Great article, I found it very interesting.


  6. Interesting article and its an important question in this day and age. Legalization of marijuana could make crimes decrease and stop people from going to jail for petty marijuna crimes.


  7. Posted by nour abbas on October 1, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    really interesting article ,well done 🙂


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