California’s Recreational Pot Proposition
All eyes are on California, as voters there may be the first in the nation to make recreational use of marijuana legal this November 2.
California has already downgraded possession of an ounce or less to a mere infraction, and is one of 14 states, along with the District of Columbia, that have already legalized medical marijuana in some form. Proposition 19 goes way beyond marijuana for medical purposes. (Source: National Conference of State Legislatures)
About California’s Proposition 19
SUMMARY: Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Depending on federal, state, and local government actions, potential increased tax and fee revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually and potential correctional savings of several tens of millions of dollars annually.
A YES vote on this measure means: Individuals age 21 or older could, under state law, possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. State and local governments could authorize, regulate, and tax commercial marijuana-related activities under certain conditions.
A NO vote on this measure means: The possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use and commercial marijuana-related activities would remain illegal under state law, unless allowed under the state’s existing medical marijuana law. (Source: Official Voter Information Guide for California, where you can read the full text of Prop 19)
The Argument in Favor of Prop 19
Stops wasting taxpayer dollars on failed marijuana prohibition. Controls and taxes marijuana like alcohol. Makes marijuana available only to adults. Adds criminal penalties for giving it to anyone under 21. Weakens drug cartels. Enforces road and workplace safety. Generates billions in revenue. Saves taxpayers money.
Provides legal protection to the estimated 3.3 million Californians currently using marijuana for non-medical purposes. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted enforcing the failed prohibition of cannabis (also known as marijuana). Currently, cannabis is easier for kids to get than alcohol. Prohibition has created a violent criminal market run by international drug cartels. Police waste valuable resources targeting non-violent cannabis consumers, while thousands of violent crimes go unsolved. There is $14 billion in marijuana sales every year in California, but the debt-ridden state sees none of the revenue that would come from controlling and taxing it. Cannabis prohibition has failed. (Source: www.yeson19.com)
The Argument Against Prop 19
Opposed by Mothers Agains Drunk Driving (MADD) because it allows drivers to smoke marijuana until the moment they climb behind the wheel. Endangers public safety. Jeopardizes $9,400,000,000.00 in school funding, billions in federal contracts, thousands of jobs. Opposed by California’s Sheriffs, Police Chiefs, Firefighters and District Attorneys.
Proposition 19 is a chaotic initiative filled with major flaws that will have severe, unintended consequences for California. Prop 19 poses a major threat to public safety in California and will make roads, workplaces and communities less safe. (Source: www.noonproposition19.com)
Even if Prop 19 should pass, it would still violate federal law, making Californians subject to arrest and conviction by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, although last year, United States Attorney General Eric Holder reaffirmed he will not authorize federal justice resources to target or prosecute medical cannabis users or providers that are compliant with state law.
Health Risks of Marijuana
Occasional marijuana use is rarely seriously harmful, but it does have medical effects, including increased heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and appetite; red eyes; dry mouth; and slower reaction time. It can sometimes distort the user’s sense of time, impair memory, and cause anxiety and depression. Some experts believe heavy smokers are at increased risk for lung cancer. (Source: WebMD)
About Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana enjoys legal status in many parts of the world, where it is recognized as an effective treatment for chronic pain or nausea caused by conditions like multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, arthritis, and cancer.
Patients report that use of medical marijuana provides relief from spasticity, nerve pain, tremors, sleeping disorders, nausea, and depression, greatly improving quality of life. The side-effects associated with cannabis are mild in comparison.
Photo courtesy of photoxpress.com