Yoela Palkin

YES to Marijuana Legalization, But NO to Prop 19

Posted on November 4 2010 5:00 pm

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Oh California, how could you fail to pass an initiative legalizing marijuana? Only every third person in our beautiful state calls himself a “stoner”. What happened? Did Californians finally realize that caring about our surroundings might actually be important?

Living in a very “pro-marijuana” county, I was certain that Proposition 19 would pass. Every morning I would see tons of YES on Prop 19 signs which would make me screech at the thought of  California,  on top of our leftist agenda, allowing people to walk around “high” without any form of regulation.

There have been many debates in the past few months where individuals from opposing  sides have exhibited their opinions on marijuana legalization, however the larger question remains if Proposition 19 was the right initiative for this act.

Proposition 19 is called the “legalization of marijuana act” by most Americans, but what many people do not realize is that the actual law does not implement any form of  regulation or control. The proposition was written very poorly and leaves Americans worried about many issues.

A year ago, I was opposed to marijuana legalization in general because my belief was that we have enough problems in our society without weed. However, after doing further research and thinking about the idea, the thought of the government not allowing its people to live life how they choose really started to  bother me. Our founding fathers would be rolling around in their graves if they found out that the government was trying to impose morals on the people.

Libertarians have the right approach of believing that every individual has the right to control himself by seeing what is right and what is wrong without the government getting involved. Every time the government gets in our way, one of our rights, as citizens, is taken away. The overall libertarian perspective I can agree with, however, with Proposition 19 there are many flaws within the law that have made me side with the conservatives, who have been against this initiative for the past few months.

The biggest worry for most Americans is whether the legalization of marijuana would lead to society accepting drugs and poor behavior without having a punishment such as jail or probation behind the idea. The problem is that California is known as having  the highest percentage of marijuana smokers in the nation but Proposition 19 was not written with enough control to ensure safety.

If Proposition 19 passed it would:

  1. Result In The Loss Of Federal Grants. Proposition 19 would’ve created a state law that conflicts with federal drug laws, which could caused the state to loose billions of dollars. Public contracts and grants require to effectively enforce the drug-free workplace according to the  Federal Workplace Act of 1988 ; so many schools and medical research institutions could lose millions of dollars annually.
  2. Would Not Be Regulated Properly. Proposition 19 is called the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act 2010”, but there isn’t anything in the proposition stating how it would be regulated and controlled. It leaves that power up to the local governments, which results in some cities being softer on imposing the law. Also, there are no provisions to tax marijuana cultivation or its use in this initiative. Taxation, is also a decision left to the local governments. Prop 19 specifically prevents the state of California from taxing marijuana sales any more than the usual sales tax and since the enforcement of a local government taxation is impossible, there will never be any significant revenue produced which would help California out of it’s deficit.
  3. Impact Our Public Safety Negatively. This is where I question the libertarian perspective. Proposition 19 does not define what constitutes being “under the influence of marijuana”. There are no tests that a police officer can conduct (like a breath analyzer test) which would show the amount of marijuana in the driver’s bloodstream; allowing “high” drivers on the roads. No driver over the age 21 would be required to be drug-free while operating a vehicle under Proposition 19. So I ask my libertarian friends, why should my life be at risk if “Joe” chooses to get himself high?
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