Should California Legalize Marijuana?

An upcoming bill could make marijuana legal in California. Could Californians be coming home after work and rolling a joint instead of cracking a beer?

If passed, the bill, A.B. 390, would cause marijuana to be regulated similarly to alcohol. If you’re over 21, it’s okay to smoke, and you can grow up to 10 plants as long as they’re not visible to the public. It still won’t be legal to possess or sell marijuana on school grounds, and of course, won’t be legal to sell to people under 21. The bill would also legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp, a very environmentally sustainable and versatile crop that can be used in cloth, paper, pains, plastics, food, fuel, cosmetics, and many other useful products.

Marijuana has been used for centuries as a healing herb. Today, medical marijuana is helping people cope with AIDS, cancer, nausea, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, migraines, glaucoma, and a number of other illnesses. Many people think marijuana is mainly used to treat serious diseases, but in California, 40 percent of medical marijuana is used to ease “chronic pain”. Marijuana is also prescribed for help with depression and as an appetite stimulant–it seems like more and more people are finding help for their ailments with marijuana, why not make it legal and spare people the trip to the doctor?

Some worry that making marijuana legal will lead to increase use by teens, but countries that have already legalized marijuana, like the Netherlands and Switzerland, actually have lower rates of adolescent marijuana use than the U.S. It’s possible that if we took away the cache¢ naughtiness of smoking pot, fewer kids would be inclined to do it.

Although, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (the DEA), Alaska tried legalizing marijuana in the 1970′s and it led to their teens using it at more than twice the rate of other American teens. Was this because the weed was finally legal?

The bottom line in this debate might be that legalizing marijuana could save California from debt. It costs the state $170 million a year to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate people on marijuana charges. According to retired California judge James P. Gray, marijuana prohibition, “doesn’t make pot less available, but it does clog the court system”. Marijuana sales would also bring in taxes, at the rate of about a dollar per joint.

Teens report that it’s easier to get marijuana than buy cigarettes. Even some suburban ‘soccer moms’ are getting on board with marijuana decriminalization–they fear that their kids are buying pot from someone dangerous, and would rather the sale be safe, out in the [state-regulated] open.

More and more research is shutting down claims that marijuana is addictive, or that marijuana is a “gateway” drug. According to one European medical journal, it’s no worse than alcohol or tobacco. Could legalizing marijuana be the answer to California’s financial and social prayers? Or would decriminalizing pot only lead to a lazy, hazy, California munchies epidemic?

Since 1986, marijuana legalization has failed 5 times in Oregon, Nevada, and Alaska. The latest attempt was in Nevada in 2006: marijuana decriminalization polled strong, but ultimately only got 44 percent of the vote. According to a February 2009 poll, 54 percent of California voters support marijuana legalization. To see legalization become a reality, Californians should put down the pipe, get off the couch, and tell their legislators to support A.B. 390.

You can sign a petition telling Governor Schwarzenegger you want marijuana legalized in California.

Visit the Marijuana Policy Project or the National Organization for Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML) for more information.


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Julli R.
.4 years ago

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Richard Ralph R.
Richard Ralph R.6 years ago

What does pot do if you inhale to the Chief Rat? Ah... er... you order a double pepperoni pizza!

Shritesh Lakhani
S. Lakhani6 years ago

In amsterdam ,they supply you with like 5 gms , provided you show your ID.
Tobacco, alcohol kills !!! what does grass do to you ???

Sam S.
Sam S.7 years ago

Marijuana is hardly illegal as it is, it's easy to get, and most punishment isn't a big deal (unless coupled with something, of course pairing things like driving high are bad), and we're quite obviously losing the "war on drugs" if it's still so easy to get. Because it is so easy to get (I really cannot overstate that) I really doubt that legalizing would increase use (in teens, the main age people seem to use against legalization, are attracted to the taboo so legalizing could easily cause a drop in their usage). The problem is that under illegal status all the profits go toward violent criminal organizations, legalizing would save huge amounts of money that is spent on catching and persecuting smokers who aren't harming anything, and earn massive amounts from taxing, that money could then go towards fighting real drugs. Also, as long as it is illegal it will be profitable, as long as it is profitable someone will sell it, therefore we can never "win" the "war on drugs" by fighting cartels with law enforcement because every time we make an arrest someone else will take the place; cripple the cartels by legalizing so they lose their business to the legal market where the money should go (aside from it being legal, it would certainly be safer under regulations and likely be better quality for cheaper since much of what you pay for when buying illegally is the risk the dealer/grower takes).

Regulate it like alcohol and there are no negative I can see to legalizing, even

Ernest Lichtenwalter
Past Member 7 years ago

please share

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Jon L.
Jon L7 years ago

(continued) Get some help for yourselves as well as for him.

Jon L.
Jon L7 years ago

@CC S. - so your son is using marijuana illegally, or does he have a prescription for it? Does he also use alcohol illegally? It would seem that alcohol would be much more readily available in CA. You can buy that stuff anywhere. So now you have a drug, available by prescription only, and your son is using it. Does he use any other prescription drugs without having a prescription? I guess what I am saying is your son may have a problem whether or not he could get marijuana and some of the other prescription substances are a lot more serious and alcohol is insidious. You do need to work with your son and possibly with some professional counselors regarding his using. He is using illegally whether it is marijuana, alcohol, or some other drug which, if he had a prescription, it would be legal. Whoever is supplying him with marijuana, cigarettes, alcohol, or any other drug is doing so illegally. Heck, even if they made it legal in CA, they would have age limitations on it just like they do cigarettes and alcohol. I would go after his supplier(s) the same way I would go after them if he were smoking, drinking, or doing anything else I mentioned, and also see that he gets the psychological help he seems to need. This really has no bearing on whether or not pot should be legalized. It has everything to do with the fact that it is not legal for your son (and it wouldn't be legal for him even if it were legalized in CA due to his age) and he is using it anyway. Get some

CC Smith
CC Smith7 years ago

Yah I live in California too....and I'm a parent of a teen (14 years)who has fallen victom to pot smoking. And now, thanks to our wonderful governing forces, dispenseries are in every neighborhood in So Cal! Thats NOT what the doctor ordered! Here's the deal, we parent, who gives a damn have had an ongoing battle with our sons academic achievement. Now we have a more serious and unnecessary added concern: random use of "medical" mariquana. . We've done our homework on the matter its effect on the teenage DEVELOPING brain. After much stress and running the gamet of pleaing with him arguing, disapproval, searchs and seizing of paraphenalia and substance we turned the page to speaking truth into his life. By giving him the opportunity to make choices based on facts like: I like my son when he's sober;not when he's in an altered state of mind,clear, beautiful bright eyes,not blood shot eyes, healthy,not poor eating habits, strong able bodied, not lazy and dependant,a love for life, not depressed and sad, etc. Unlike others parents I get butt hurt over this. YA GET MY DRIFT??? He's so young and Honestly, I still don't encourage or condone it. It makes our state weaker and unstable not to mention the influencs of the other countries. So what Our battle is to keep our youth from going down, Bottom Line!