(UPDATE! Russ of NORML does a much better job of explaining how prop 19 rocks)
I’ve been reading a lot about prop 19, and how various people think it needs to wait another two years to get some refinements. Generally speaking, it’s too strict, and takes away more freedom than it gives. Some of the anti-prop-19 propaganda is below — some is fact, some is exaggerated, and some (I believe) is completely made up:
- Prop 19 imposes bigger penalties for minors caught smoking than CA has today
- It won’t actually generate much revenue for the state, and what revenue it does generate will not likely go to the places money is needed
- Medical smokers won’t be allowed to smoke around minors, or in public
- More people will be arrested than today due to the decriminalization – right now being caught with a small amount of marijuana is just a $100 fine, not an arrest
- It won’t actually end the war on drugs, because it’ll still be federally illegal
- Hard-working medicinal growers will lose tons of money and possibly even end up with no income
- It’s far too much red tape to get licensed
- The big companies will take control of the cannabis industry, resulting in low-quality, mass-produced weed
- If we vote yes on 19 and it sucks, we can’t fix it ever
- And so on…
Side note: isn’t it funny how many “cannabis friendly” people are speaking out against prop 19 now? Perhaps they happen to be in the group of black-market growers and dealers who “generously” supply medicine to patients… at a price that, ounce for ounce, beats gold
Think about these points before you get too focused on the fact that, yes, prop 19 has some flaws:
If it can’t pass during an economic crisis, when even a tiny tax is so very necessary, what are the odds it’ll pass if the state is doing better in two years? If the recession gets better in the next two years, voters on the fence won’t see taxation of cannabis as being nearly as big a benefit. This is important, because cannabis and hemp could help California immensely over the long run — but people are more likely to think about the future when their short-term outlook is bleak.
If we remove the restrictive legalese from prop 19, and don’t have stiff penalties for selling to minors, will the fence sitters even consider voting “yes”? Doubtful. As it is, prop 19 is actually really good for people who want kids off pot. Personally I don’t care what a 19-year-old does with pot, but I can see the tough battle prop 19 would have had if it had stated that anybody over 12 could smoke marijuana anywhere, anytime.
Marijuana has been used for thousands of years, yet government propaganda has convinced us for generations that it’s an incredibly dangerous substance. You can bet whatever happens to prop 19, the federal government is going to take its drug war to the next level. If 19 doesn’t pass, we’re looking at many more years of extremely powerful lies funded by an incredibly wealthy nation, and no ground to stand on. No legalization effort means no proof of how safe (and beneficial) marijuana and hemp really are.
The federal prohibition will not end until most of the states make a stand. California is in a unique position to do so this year. Other liberal states would likely follow California’s example, but they won’t be as likely to succeed if California fails! The OCTA fell miles short of its goal this year – imagine how much tougher it’ll be in 2012 trying to gather signatures knowing that CA got it on the ballot and still failed.
The black market maintains control as long as we allow it. Yes, having one state legalize weed won’t stop the black market. It will, however, be the first step toward doing so. You can’t stop the black market entirely without a lot of time, not even for a product as cheap to grow as cannabis. Even if the U.S. fully legalized it, there would still be people supplying it to countries where it remains illegal. The point is that the black market loses control eventually, and this year could be the start of that.
And last, hemp production by itself is worth your vote. That article is a wonderful resource for discussing the merits of hemp, and has a lot of really good facts that can be verified. Hemp’s illegal status has a lot to do with the perceived need to keep “drugs” off the streets. Get cannabis legalized, and enjoy the incredible benefits of hemp: food, fuel, paper, and more!
And all this talk of decriminalization being better than legalization – I’m half convinced the proponents of keeping it illegal are just black-market cronies or something.
If we stick with decriminalization as a “good enough” situation, how will people in hospitals and other state run facilities ever benefit from marijuana use? How will proper research ever be done? How will we end medical users’ rights from being trampled on in the workplace?
Decriminalization is a small step in the right direction, but certainly not the final chapter… unless you’re growing a plant that makes you more money than any other crop on earth.
Decriminalization keeps the drug illegal. It’s not allowing you to carry ten pounds of marijuana and donate it to a hospital. It’s not allowing big companies to grow cannabis to cultivate hemp. It’s not allowing scientists to do real, well-funded research. In my son’s case, it keeps his institution from being allowed to give him the one medicine that shows promise.
Decriminalization doesn’t work for true freedom, and that’s what this country is supposed to be about.
Tell your friends. Educate your peers. Spread the word. Cannabis isn’t evil. Let’s give real scientists a chance to prove it.
Don’t vote with the ignorant, and don’t vote with the black market. Vote yes, and give responsible adults a chance to prove they are just that.