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Don't Worry, You're Going to Love Marijuana Legalization

Marcos Breton at the Sacramento Bee says he "might be wrong to oppose Proposition 19," and he's right about that at least. What follows is a frustrating editorial that offers some good reasons to support reform, before becoming overwhelmed by doubt and uncertainty.

Herein lies the problem with Prop. 19 – it's built on fantasy and untruths.

Pot advocates condemn alcohol addiction but are in complete denial about marijuana addiction.

Yet, Breton himself admits being a former user. So do the President and the Governor of California. The vast majority of marijuana users never get addicted, so arresting these people and forcing them into treatment for a problem they don’t have makes little sense. How many people did we have to arrest to reduce tobacco use?

They say California will make tons of tax money on Prop. 19, when there is nothing in the law to spell out how to tax a plant grown anywhere.

You can't tax it because it comes from plants? Sure you can. California already makes millions taxing medical marijuana. I repeat, California already makes millions taxing medical marijuana. How does it work? The same way taxation works in every other industry: people prefer to buy things in stores and they pay taxes when doing so.

They claim Prop. 19 will strike a blow against Mexican drug kingpins, when marijuana will still be illegal in 49 American states and most countries throughout the world. How does that put them out of business?

So we should vote against Prop 19 because it won't completely put the drug kingpins out of business? The drug war hasn't put them out of business either, so what's your point? Prop 19 will make it harder for drug cartels to make money in California and that's a good start. I promise, If Prop 19 passes, we'll be working on those other 49 states forthwith.

As for addressing the disparity in the prosecution of blacks and whites who are arrested for marijuana possession, let's reform the real problem – police practices and sentencing guidelines.

Yeah, we've been working on police practices and sentencing guidelines for kind of a while now, actually. Didn't work. Our marijuana laws were literally designed to stop black people from getting high, so no one should be surprised that their impact has fallen harder on some communities than others. Resolving widespread patterns of racial inequality throughout the criminal justice system is a noble goal, and the first step is to reform laws that have consistently exacerbated the problem.

As always, the debate over marijuana legalization is defined by incessant back-and-forth bickering and speculation that could seriously go on forever. We're all guilty of it, but so long as our current marijuana policy continues, huge numbers of Americans are going to object bitterly and that will remain the case until the problems with our marijuana laws are addressed in some way. If you have doubts about Prop 19, that's ok, but at least it opens up the possibility of learning something new. Isn't that reason enough to give it a chance?

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Very well put.


Legalize it.

Legalize it.

   I want to know if the

   I want to know if the writer feels that he personally would be better of today if he had been arrested and subjected to the appropriate fines and jail time, when he was "abusing" cannabis?

  Leap has a saying: "You can overcome an addiction, but you cant overcome a conviction"

DreamOfGreen's picture


"You can overcome an addiction, but you cant overcome a conviction"

 God do I feel that.

when the fudge asked if I had anything I'd like to say before he passed sentence I wanted to say yes, I'd like you to find a single person that would say I've done them any harm in any way and pass judgment based on that. In which case I might have a small to moderate fine and/or some community service. but instead you're taking as many years of my life as someone who has raped, beaten or robbed others. not only effectively ruining my life, but costing an insane amount of money to incarcerate me. And for what, because I wanted to feel good and have some fun?

but I’m glad I didn’t ‘cause he could have very likely tacked on another 5 because I wasn’t repentant of my crime.

Hmmm... my first attempt to

Hmmm... my first attempt to post this reply didn't save: Since Obama and Clinton both support prohibition of marijuana, which was founded in racism and bigotry, then being public officials, I should assume that they're aware of the history of prohibition and how it came about. If they cannot see that ending a prohibition founded in racism and bigotry is the right thing to do, then I must consider Obama and Clinton racist bigots until they stand for legalization, and that goes for any other prohibitionist out there, especially those in public office.

Since Obama and Arnold have

Since Obama and Arnold have admitted their past marijuana use, they should be put on probation and be forced to submit to random drug testing since they think it's good for everyone else.  Same goes for Clinton even if he didn't inhale.  Possession is possession, whether you smoke it or not.  So Clinton should be put on probation and should be regularly tested for drug use until they can all find some wisdom in their dysfunctional thinking and see the appropriateness of marijuana legalization.  If prohibition's roots in racism and bigotry aren't enough for them to see why prohibition is wrong, then I can only conclude that they agree with the racist foundations of prohibition.  Therefore until legalization comes around, I consider Obama, Clinton and all other prohibitionists racist, homophobic, parnaoid bigots.

Yes, I've always thought that

Yes, I've always thought that even if marijuana legalization causes a new set of problems to arise, at least it will solve one current problem for which the only solution is legalization.  Legalization ends the black market where there are no rules and where differences are settled with guns and bloodshed. Any problems that arise from marijuana legalization will have more obvious solutions.

Legalization is such a no-brainer that prohibitionists look like a waste of a human brain.  You wouldn't see gorillas beating up other gorillas for getting high, so why are prohibitionists acting more primitive than jungle apes?

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