19 Reasons Pot Should Be Legal
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For the Business Community
10. To create much-needed jobs. California’s marijuana market is already the largest cash crop in the state at an estimated $14 billion annually . This estimate only includes the marijuana itself and not all the ancillary industries a legal pot market would bring, from accessories to fashion, from tourism to retail, and all the incredible markets for marijuana’s non-drug cousin, industrial hemp . Prop 19 creates new job and business opportunities and opens the door for industrial use of hemp.
11. To bring in much-needed tax revenue. It’s true that Prop 19 allows localities to opt-in and regulate commercial cannabis sales and some places may not opt-in, reaping no marijuana taxes. But marijuana for personal use will still be legal and many of the ancillary industries could flourish in a “dry county” (e.g., marijuana bed’n’breakfast ) and that would produce tax revenue. Prop 19 brings in more tax revenue from marijuana than we’re bringing in now.
12. To bring fairness to workplace drug testing. Prop 19 maintains an employer’s existing right to address marijuana impairment in the workplace – nobody gets to go to work stoned any more than they get to go to work drunk. But Prop 19 frees employers from the burden of disciplining, firing, or not hiring safe, productive workers for their personal use of marijuana away from the job site. Prop 19 treats employees who use cannabis responsibly in their private life like those employees who drink alcohol.
For the Latinos and African-Americans
13. To end the disproportionate arrest and harassment of people of color. African-Americans in California’s 25 largest counties are arrested at rates two-to-four times greater than their white counterparts, despite whites using marijuana at greater rates. In the 25 largest cities, the arrest disparity ranges from twice-to-thirteen times the rates for whites. Arrest rates for Latinos also exceed the rates for whites. Prop 19 removes the probable cause for law enforcement to harass people of color for merely possessing marijuana.
14. To end street-level dealing of marijuana. Marijuana’s profitability and scarcity create the open-air street-corner dealing that plagues many communities of color and utilizes juveniles to perform the transporting and selling of small amounts of pot. The profit enriches gangs and leads to violent confrontations over turf . Prop 19 will reduce the cost of marijuana and provide a regulated place to buy it that will undercut the street dealers.
15. To strike back at the murderous drug gangs in Mexico. Many Latino Californians worry for the safety of friends and family back in Mexico. Residents in northern border towns face violence and murder rates usually only found in war zones . Law abiding Mexicans don’t know if their law enforcement and government officials are corrupted by the wealthy gangs. Prop 19 is the first step in nationwide legalization that can be the only solution to Mexico’s drug war violence.
For the People of All Political Ideologies
16. To energize and connect with the progressive Democratic base. Prop 19 is overwhelmingly supported by the young, progressive, liberal voters that are the base of support for Democratic politicians. Many of these voters are not as enthusiastic about the Democrats as they were in 2008 when they turned out in record numbers. Prop 19’s passage forces the Democratic Party to recognize the get-out-the-vote potential of the marijuana legalization issue for future elections.
17. To build a new, younger Republican base on conservative principles. The Republican Party faces a decline in its numbers due to the aging of its core base of white male supporters. Younger, libertarian-leaning, “Tea Party” activists are calling for a return to conservative principles of states’ rights, less government, personal responsibility, and cutting wasteful government spending . Prop 19 affirms the right of states to set their own policies and begins to dismantle the most ineffective government program of all time – the War on Drugs.