Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]

If the Government Won't Fix Marijuana Laws, the People Will Do it Themselves

Opponents of marijuana reform have been arguing for years that ballot initiatives are the wrong way to make laws because they circumvent the input of state legislators and other stakeholders, thereby creating a risk of unintended consequences. We've heard this complaint repeatedly in regards to medical marijuana, and now the same is being said about Prop 19. But as far as we're concerned, anyone who doesn't want marijuana legalized this way has only one option: beat us to it.

It's really that simple. If public officials don't want to see laws enacted by popular vote, then the obvious solution is to go ahead and fix failed policies instead of endeavoring desperately to defend them year after year. Given the popularity of Prop 19, there's no reason California legislators couldn't have enacted some of these reforms a long time ago. The same goes for every other state where polling shows strong support for significant marijuana reforms. Unless legislators begin taking the issue seriously, the next generation of marijuana laws will be written by activists.

Thus, it's really quite fascinating that Governor Schwarzenegger finally just signed decriminalization into law only a month before the Prop 19 vote. Even the widely-acknowledged stupidity of arresting people for small amounts of marijuana wasn't addressed until full legalization appeared to loom right around the corner. And to top it off, opponents of Prop 19 are now cynically claiming that we don't need legalization because people won't be arrested anymore anyway. How convenient. Something tells me these same idiots would have been our biggest adversaries if we'd launched a decriminalization initiative five years ago.

Fortunately, it's getting more and more difficult to find anyone in the marijuana debate willing to defend the practice of arresting people for mere possession, so rather than waiting for advocates to push further-reaching reforms, state legislatures should be working to enact decriminalization policies on their own terms. Doing so may not prevent legalization from eventually emerging through the initiative process, but it does offer you the ability to modernize state policies before reformers come along and do the job for you in ways you might not like.

America's war on marijuana is simply too unpopular to continue indefinitely. Change is coming, and anyone who worries about what that means is better off taking a seat at the table than working in vain to disrupt the process with paranoid anti-drug propaganda. When it comes to reforming marijuana policies, you're either with us, or you're wasting your time.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

So one complaint is that

So one complaint is that initiatives run the risk of creating unintended consequences?  How is that any different from statutes passed by legislatures? 


That is an excellent observation, and quite correct.  Most legislators (state or federal) do not bother to really read any bill that comes up for a vote with an eye to any consequences good or bad, all they are concerned with is how their major contributors want them to vote on it.  9 times out of 10, the only ones who will benefit from any new law are the special interests who pushed it (and all too often wrote it, too).

people power!

our government still classifies cannabis as a schedule one drug. this should be all anyone needs to know to realize uncle sammy has his head up his backside.

Stop making it a crime to grow

Decriminalization of small amounts is great but where do you get it? Anyone willing to grow it is risking a felony. The only people willing to do that are Mexican gangs.

The Setup for the Reasons to propell the drug war.

Exactly, you can have your cannabis, but you cant grow it yourself or you go to jail, you cant get it from your friends because your friends do not wish to go to jail. You can not buy it from the state, because the state does not want your money (still shocks me a little bit each and every time i say it). So your keeping it a black market system.

Fantastic, you have cut down on our absurd imprisonment rate that would have effectively turned the United States into what Australia was intended to be. But that is covering ~1/3 of the problem we push for with Prop. 19. You could have made alcohol a minor infraction to posses, but illegal to create or sell. Would that have stopped the rise of the Mob during prohibition? Would it have touched their funding, or corruption that bled into the political and judicial systems?

Decriminalization does send the message that it is acceptable to use, which is a step in the right direction. However, the only effects i see coming from this is less users will be imprisoned (which is awesome), more people begin to use cannabis (the group that hold out about consuming it over alcohol purely over the legal ramifications) and growers/sellers see the increased client base as a reason to increase prices (coupled with the fact possession is legal, yet growing/supplying will still land you in prison, +$ because risk falls solely on the provider). 

Which will inevitably end up being the demise of the legalization movement if it fails to pass. "Decriminalization while reducing arrest rates, has failed to generate the expected gains in terms of police and court budget cutting we originally anticipated. Use has increased and the gangs/cartels who profit from it continue to do so supplied with funds from the increased user base. We can not in good conscious continue this method of supplying criminal organizations with increased funding and power."


Rather then actively solve the problem they push through a method that will for all intensive purposes, complete their self-fufilling prophecy, that use will increase and nothing would be gained from legalization, by citing the failings of decriminalization.


I completely agree. Legislative action would be the best way to address this problem. Sadly, the legislature has made it clear that it will not do so. Hence, we see the people taking action. They will do so in California this year. If Prop 19 does not pass, then something similar will pass in 2012. The next cycle, other states will do the same, and reform will eventually make its way to Washington, DC.

What irritates me most is the

What irritates me most is the people who assume that anybody who smokes pot only smokes it for fun.  I see marijuana as a fantastic plant that facilitates self-understanding.  While I certainly don't want to be jailed for trying to know myself through the cannabis experience, I also don't want to have to pay a fine to the state for doing it, either.

Compare marijuana to the religious communion.  Communion consists of bread and wine, and I can see how one would interpret "bread and wine" as the body and blood of Christ.  But biblically it is also allowed for the weak to consume "herbs".  Since I'm not yet physically immortal, I consider myself weak.  Cannabis does give me the experience of doorways to immortality opening every time I use it.  To me, that is very satisfying.

Romans 14: [2] For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. [3] Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

I certainly have no problem with people who don't use pot.  I just wish those people would do the right thing and stop despising me because I do like cannabis.  It's rational to admit weakness upon realizing that the destiny for humans is immortality and eternal life.  As one who realizes this is a temporal, mortal body connected to an eternal body that cannot die, and realizing that the feelings that come from marijuana use are allowing the eternal body to be felt more abundantly on the level of physical, evolutionary development we have now, I have to say that the criminalization of marijuana is what is currently preventing all of society from discovering the "magical" feelings of everlasting bliss that's coming.


@ phanes

Just wanted to say i loved what you had to say very touching and real. I'm always looking for cool people such as yourself. if you got a FB add me . PEACE Love and 420






Raul Xñ


 "Prohibition Is The Golden Goose Of Terrorism!" Cops Explain Why Marijuana Must Be Legalized

David Dunn's picture

Controlled Substances Act unconstitutional?


Including hemp in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a Schedule I drug, appears to be unconstitutional.

That’s because of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution:

"The Congress shall have the power

“To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries:"

Prohibition is the negation of promoting and progress. The father of capitalism, Adam Smith, also denounced prohibition. Prohibition thwarts anything approaching a “free market.”

With over 50,000 products that can be made from hemp, ranging from bicycles to cancer cures, to deny the growing, researching, testing, manufacturing and marketing of hemp products is contrary to the Constitution’s stated purpose of promoting the progress of science and useful arts.

Why hempsters haven’t picked up on this is unclear. But with the unconstitutional bent of the Robert’s Court, it’s understandable why they might not be willing to challenge the constitutionality of including hemp in the Controlled Substances Act.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School