You're Either For Legalizing Marijuana or You're Against It

A peculiar phenomenon amidst the deafening debate over Prop 19 is the tendency of some in the mainstream press to pay lip service to legalization, while simultaneously and dishonestly trashing the only available opportunity to actually do it:

We can understand the frustration that led to the drafting of Proposition 19. It is absurd that the federal government lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no medical uses and is considered as dangerous as heroin or LSD, when it may have therapeutic benefits and is less addictive and harmful than alcohol or tobacco. Yet, as we've said in our ballot endorsements, Proposition 19 is not the answer. Besides the legal problems, it would create regulatory chaos as each of California's 478 cities and 58 counties comes up with its own rules on growing, possessing, distributing and taxing the drug. [Los Angeles Times]

First of all, LA Times is just wrong that Prop 19 delegates decisions about personal cultivation and possession to local authorities. The measure would legalize possession of up to an ounce, and allow cultivation in a 25 sq. ft. grow space by all adult Californians, and even allows home storage of personal harvests larger than an ounce. Only taxation and distribution are left to cities and counties to regulate, and it's a shame that LA Times' opposition to the measure is informed at least in part by their ignorance of this key distinction. Worse yet, there's no excuse for misinforming voters about something as significant as the fact that Prop 19 absolutely will legalize personal possession and cultivation throughout the state.

Once this is understood, their fundamental problem with Prop 19 amounts to little more than a bizarre objection to the notion that cities and counties could make their own decisions about whether to allow sales and taxation. What alternative would they propose? Something tells me that if Prop 19 didn't include that provision, LA Times would instead attack the measure for failing to give local government any say over whether or not to allow retails sales.

In other words, the reasonable minds at the Los Angeles Times completely understand our "frustration" with these "absurd" marijuana laws, but you can almost certainly count on them to come out swinging against any actual effort to address the problem. Meanwhile, USA Today is also open to legalization, but not until everyone in America agrees to it:

Eventually, there might be a national movement toward legalizing marijuana, but the key word is "national." Legalization is a decision that should be made by the entire country, not just one state… [USA Today]

Now this is just stupid. The editors of USA Today are presumably aware of the fact that each state has its own set of laws, hence it is not possible for "the entire country" to legalize marijuana in Mississippi, or even California. If Congress legalized marijuana tomorrow, it would still be illegal in all 50 states, each of which would still have to address the issue on its own. So, USA Today is against legalization happening in one state and not others, but since the alternative is constitutionally impossible, I guess we'll just have to table the discussion forever.

Sadly, the above examples of mindless obstructionism in the marijuana legalization debate have been brought to us courtesy of the editorial boards of two of our nation's largest papers. Yet, it's almost encouraging to find such revered news sources bothering to at least feign sympathy for our cause before descending back into the traditional drug war madness and dishonesty that's characterized their coverage for decades.

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Actually 19 does allow cities

Actually 19 does allow cities to pass their own rules on possession and cultivation, BUT only to increase such limits on possession and cultivation. The LA Times probably doesn't know this and wasn't referring to this possibility. It is in the language though, so a city can increase the 1 ounce and 25 square feet limits to whatever they want, or even do away with limits altogether.  

Yesterday's PPIC poll has me

Yesterday's PPIC poll has me depressed. The drug war message is resonating in the final days, and we have no budget to get our message out.

 USA Today is not that far

 USA Today is not that far off . If the DEA were to change marijuana from a Class A Drug ( one with no medical value ) to a Class 2 or 3 drug many State and Federal Laws would change drastically where marijuana is concerned. By keeping Cannabis a Class A drug the DEA and DOJ are teaching our children that their Gov. lies to them and believes it is OK to do so. As our Children mature they will come to have contempt and disrespect for the authorities they should be able to trust and turn to in dangerous times.
  We know Cannabis is one of the oldest natural herbal medicines man has found so far. For the DEA to continually say it has no medicinal value while 13 States have voted it a legal drug for many diseases and conditions and at least another 5 states voting on Cannabis this Nov. just makes the DEA a laughingstock. To deny the facts when they are directly in their face day after day has to boil down to nothing more than a puritanical powertrip. America was founded on the very idea that Americans would no longer be forced to live under those conditions.
  Congressman Barney Franks has a bill written to legalize Cannabis, he just has not been able to bring it to the floor for vote at the right time. One has to wonder which way the TeaParty will vote on this issue? Prohibition should be unconstitutional imho and I'm sure many of the Teabaggers feel the same way. They strike me much the way the people who fought the so called "Revenuers" during prohibition of booze. Growing Cannabis has become as much of a American Tradition as making moonshine and it is time we not only honor Cannabis but return to the Industrial cannabis also. Now those would be Green Jobs.

obscene language

After I was relieved of some of my ignorance, (I learned what tea bagging was)  I have become irritated every time I see it referring to TEA party members. Your comment is great, other than that!  The Ron Paul group (original tea partiy-ers)  wants us to end a lot of illegal wars, including that on drugs.  I remember when he came out in support of a lot of us pain doctors that were being busted by nanny state-ers who would tell us how to treat our patients!  I thought it was nice to have his support when so many others, in the politics of medicine, would act like communists and tell us what was best for our patients, whom they never, ever, interviewed or evaluated.


There is definitely a subgroup of conservative supporters who have the same idea on the war on drugs as the DPA!


Cannabis is, now, a class one drug. That means it has no medicinal use. But, what if I were to tell you that one form of morphine, is also a class one drug. It does not take much common sense at all to figure out there is a lot of misleading going  on. The sad thing is, it is our own government misleading everyone. Oh, diamorphine is the pain medicine also known as heroin. It is used medicinally around the world. But, in our country, the politicians and legal eagles have told us it is not a legitimate medication!  How bad is it when they continue to lie to the public?  It is payback time.  Maybe the next step could be getting rid of the DEA altogether!


Forcibly retired pain doctor

And on and on it goes

I live in Vancouver,the gateway to the pacific.We had all our methadone doctors rounded up and those that resisted were stripped of their right to practice.Now the government runs the program and the lies they tell are unbelievable.The doctor I see there has no idea how methadone works and is fighting with my pain doctor over my treatment.A heroin maintenance program(NAOMI)was very successful and was about to be expanded when the Harper conservatives were elected.No more NAOMI and the safe injection site is constantly in court.It all comes down to how a society wants to treat it's broken and strung out people.The drug problems we see are the result of a prohibition that fails to deal with a reality that has existed forever.I have watched my city go from a small group of addicts that dealt and used the drug to a war zone.The longer this prohibition is allowed to continue,the worse the gang problem gets.The prohibition of alcohol mirrored the problem in that the consumption of alcohol was higher during prohibition than at any other time.We are pushing the consumption of drugs through the roof in the very same way.I have been a heroin addict for almost 40 years and I have four of my lumbar vertebrae destroyed.My pain doctor is more concerned that I not enjoy my pain meds than that my pain is controlled.I have no idea what the philosophy is behind the withholding of proper pain medication or why doctors who understand how opiates work are not allowed to prescribe them.I have seen how quickly doctors who try to help addicts are stripped of their right to prescribe.One government deals with compassion and another with an iron fist.The victims are the most broken and messed up people and are just trying to survive.I have had 12 years of my life taken from me because I cannot live without opiates.I was forced into a lifestyle that caused the infection that destroyed my spine.What has been the end result of the persecution?I am now unable to take care of myself even if I could get heroin prescribed,although it would allow me a life without pain.That would be nice.Too bad this society is so concerned for my health that they'll kill me before they let that happen.Sorry to hear one of the good guys met the fate that it seems all who try to help must suffer.

We're talking about a flower.

The LA Times is a worthless rag. It's not worth the time to even pick it up and see what story's they're not covering, to protect the government criminals running the city. The biggest corruption scandal in the states history, the times ignores.

Keeping pot illegal makes a target out of our children. Without some form of regulation, schools are the best places to get drugs. I've never been able to buy beer, or cigarettes at school, but I could get four kinds of indica, some tai sticks, and some shrooms for desert. And the tax free part was the best part. If our government is keeping kids safe by keeping drugs in the schools, I guess they know something I don't.

Federal push-back will be

Federal push-back will be responsible if 19 fails to pass, IMO. We in the anti-drug war movement should stop using the term 'legalization' and use the more correct and benign terminology 'reschedule.' If cannabis could be rescheduled, state laws could fall like a ton of bricks. With cannabis still a schedule 1 drug, the Feds will be able to intimidate voters till the cows come home. USA today has a slim point in that we should change the status federally, regardless of the status of cannabis in California after 11/02/10.

I agree, but i also think

I agree, but i also think alcohol and tobacco should be scheduled (right now they are not even scheduled; it's like they exist in a parallel universe). And then, schedules should be about what type of regulation there should be. No drug should probably be completely illegal. 

primus's picture

Oh, come on; caffeine need

Oh, come on; caffeine need not be regulated, and it is the most commonly used addictive mind altering substance known to man.  As the potential harms increase, at some point regulation becomes advisable.  Cannabis does not cross that threshold

They are regulated!

You saw how well alcohol prohibition did, so why are you talking about scheduling it and tobacco? I don't like either, so it would not affect me, one bit.


But....  The are presently regulated, and, as one of the previous commentors said, not available in schools, like drugs are! 


Wanting to make these things available only by prescription (which is what scheduling does)makes you sound like a doctor.  A doctor one looking for a new source of income after the new health deform policy goes into effect!


And i agree! No drug should be illegal. That makes it so only the criminals have control of it. And, their type of control is not what we want!  Dealers don't card!

I was under the impression (i

I was under the impression (i don't know why I thought that) that all drugs were scheduled (robitussin, for example), and that schedule V was the least restrictive (no prescription necessary). I looked it up and you're right, if it's scheduled that means you need a prescription for it. I in no way want people to need a prescription to buy alcohol (and perhaps not even heroin or anything else for that matter (i'm still undecided about that)).


Anyway, to rewrite what i meant: i think the government should have a good system for telling people the relative harms of all drugs and have regulations for each drug (including extremely lenient regulations for some), and in such a system, alcohol and tobacco would be included. That's what i meant. 


As for caffeine, I would like sodas, coffees, energy drinks, chocolate bars, etc, to label the amount of caffeine in them (not to protect anyone – it's not that i see it as a danger to people's health – but because i think the consumer has a right to know the relative potencies of the drinks s/he takes).



I have been wrong, at times, too. I won't hold that against you! 


The biggest problem with the "heroin" is its name change and the fact that it is unregulated and uncontrolled!!  That means any time it is purchased it is impure and the strength is unknown.  As long as it is "illegal" it can not, legally, be regulated.  "Heroin" is just another form of morphine. If placed in class two, where it really belongs, it would , finally be a truly "controlled" drug.  The way it is, all sales are illegal. That means only the criminals control the market on that, which is being sold!  Then again, alcohol and cigarettes kill many more people than drug overdoses do, every year!  So which one is the "more toxic"?!


I try to avoid caffeine, since I get terrible headaches, when I stop it cold turkey (and I have HBP)!  I like "root beer", and other sodas, that are caffeine free!  Relative to the other "drugs", caffeine  is much less threatening to one's health. But, if it increases a blood pressure to a level that causes a, fatal, stroke, in a hypertensive patient, it could just as deadly as the others (in rare instances)

It's just that plenty of

It's just that plenty of people see the obvious truths of our arguments, but since we all grew up in a time when marijuana has been illegal, people just regress to just justifying prohibition somehow. The arguments are obvious, but they just don't want to believe them because it seems like "no; it's just not supposed to be like that".

That's the greatest thing about legalization, it's that it will awe a lot of people when they finally realize how much better life could have been all this time. 

Prop 19 AD

Yes on 19 just released their first youtube ad, here's the link

primus's picture

good one

good one

Scott, the initiative

Scott, the initiative actually does not say "5' by 5'" it says "25 sq. feet". nor does it even say it has to be contiguous, so one could actually plant 31   6 inch diameter buckets for personal use if they wanted to.


just so ya know.



Ok, here it goes. How did

Ok, here it goes. How did alcohol prohibition start. It started in a state by state vote till it reached a tipping point and Federal laws took over.

How was it repealed. It was repealed state by state vote till it reached a tipping point and Federal laws repealed it.

You have to do the same thing with Cannabis. State by state till the federal laws will repeal it and then you can think about reclassify it after it is repealed

(just my thoughts)

California has the initiative process, there is other states that dont have this process. That is going to be the harder states to get it turned over in.

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