The realization came to me while I was thinking about a completely different proposition on the ballot this year. We were getting all sorts of mailers about how, if 56 is passed, it’s going to take money from starving children, ruin Christmas forever, and worse…make “special interests” RICH.
My first instinct was outrage, and if it wasn’t that I knew that this is precisely what these mailers are intended to do — create an emotional reaction to stop you from thinking critically — I might have voted against it in that instant.
Instead, I used my brain to read the fine print at the bottom, to see who had paid for it. Tobacco companies! They’re trying to get a new tax on cigarettes blocked, on the grounds that somebody else is going to make some money on the deal and the tax money isn’t going directly to school children. As if Big Tobacco doesn’t count as a “special interest”!
And that’s when I realized…it doesn’t matter if someone specific or some big company or conglomerate is going to make tons of money because of a particular proposition, because those people and companies are politically connected, and they ALWAYS manage to make money anyway somehow. What really matters is whether the proposition actually does something worthwhile (in the case of 56, help motivate people to stop smoking).
Most of the people against Prop 64 really do mean well, and they have some good points. I know this because I was against it for awhile myself. I get it: Prop 64 is not perfect by a long shot. It might be overridden by the legislature, it only allows you to possess one ounce, and it throws everyone between the ages of 18 and 21 under the bus.
But what Prop 64 does do is make marijuana legal for everyone over the age of 21 in California. By making it legal, it does away with the “but it’s against the law” and “medical marijuana is a joke because anyone can get a card” arguments. Making it legal means no more bogus searches because a cop “smelled marijuana”. Prop 64 allows anyone over the age of 21 to grow up to 6 plants inside their house, and local laws can’t stop that. And it will be one of the final hurdles for legalization, because once other states (and the Federal government, I might add) see the kind of job creation and tax money California is going to generate, the rest will fall like dominoes. California and our laws have proved this time and again. And President Obama just agreed with me in a recent interview!
Plus…weed will be legal everywhere on the West Coast. They can’t ignore that.
A lot of Prop 64 opponents like to say that it’s “unnecessary”. Nobody is actually put in jail any more in California for simple marijuana possession, for instance, and pot is “basically legal, because anyone can easily get a medical marijuana recommendation”. Unfortunately this is very short-sighted. Even if this “medical loophole” was set in stone, its existence is one of the very reasons the Federal government cited when raiding so many dispensaries a few years ago: “marijuana in California is out of control and not regulated”. And although nobody is actually imprisoned for possession of small amounts, police can be very creative by charging you with paraphernalia or other crimes, and being arrested and fined is happening to thousands of people across the state right now and is no fun in any case. But once marijuana is no longer illegal, then there’s no such thing as a pipe being “illegal drug paraphernalia”, is there?
The fact of the matter is that medical marijuana in California has already been radically changed…you just aren’t thinking fourth-dimensionally. While MMJ is still going on its merry way at this moment, it will all come crashing down on January 1, 2018 when the provisions of MMRSA kick in. This was a law that was rammed through the state legislature last year and signed by the governor over the period of a single weekend, ironically reminiscent of the shenanigans surrounding the original 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. MMRSA undid years of trust and seemingly respectful discussions between the medical marijuana community and legislators. MMRSA destroys the “pot doctor” industry, and mandates that all medical recommendations come from a patient’s primary care physician. Do you think your family physician is going to write you a medical recommendation?
So the simple fact is that, unless we legalize recreational marijuana by passing Prop 64, the only way to get legal cannabis in California will be as a seriously ill patient whose doctor is willing to write a recommendation. Considering the amount of scrutiny doctors will be under as part of MMRSA, we’ll be lucky if we have it as good as MMJ patients in New Jersey, and you can ask anyone in New Jersey how well that’s working for them.
Fool Me Once…
I love the people who grow medical marijuana and run dispensaries, but they have an agenda against Prop 64, and it’s purely financial. They convinced me back in 2010 not to vote for Prop 19, with exactly the same “logic”. If it wasn’t for them, we could have had a legal cannabis industry in California for six years already…before Colorado, Washington, and everyone else…and gotten it all straightened out by now!
And speaking of throwing people under the bus, that’s exactly what the opponents of 64 plan to do to you. They haven’t told you what happens on 1/1/2018, and how this will be most people’s last chance to legalize before their access to medical marijuana goes away. So they are throwing YOU under the bus, all because they want to keep making their high profits, protected by an artificial monopoly.
You know who else works that way? Monsanto.
Do you really want to be one of the few people who vote against legal marijuana, just because the law might not be “perfect”? We can always improve things later, especially using the great momentum of the new economic revolution that all that tax money and those new jobs will bring.
Think about it!