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19 Reasons Pot Should Be Legal

Prop 19, the CA initiative legalizing marijuana, benefits not just those who enjoy the herb, but the entire state of California and ultimately, the nation and the world.

California’s Prop 19 will be the most talked-about ballot initiative in the November election.  This measure would make lawful the  possession and sharing of one ounce of marijuana  outside the home and allow for  personal cultivation of a small marijuana garden  and possession of its harvest in the home .  California cities and counties would be able to opt-in to  commercial sales, regulation , and  taxation of marijuana .  Existing  prohibitions against driving under the influence  and working under the influence  would be maintained and  prohibitions against furnishing marijuana to minors  would be strengthened.

After almost  100 years of marijuana prohibition in California , marijuana is  more popular and accepted than ever  Prohibition has clearly failed .  Prop 19 gives us another choice, one that benefits not just those who enjoy the herb, but the entire state of California and ultimately, the nation and the world.  Whether you are a regular marijuana user now, an occasional toker back in the day, or you’ve never touched the stuff, there are many compelling economic, social, public safety, and civil libertarian reasons to support its legalization.  Here are nineteen reasons for six distinct groups of Californians to vote Yes on Prop 19:

For the Concerned Parents

1.      To make pot more difficult for kids to buy.  It might seem counter-intuitive to some, but illegal marijuana is much easier to acquire than regulated marijuana because weed dealers don’t check ID’s.  Four out of five high school seniors, more than three in five sophomores, and two in five middle schoolers (8 th grade) say  marijuana is “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get .  One third of 16-17-year-olds say  marijuana is easiest to buy , not cigarettes, alcohol, or prescription drugs.  Two out of five teens say they can get marijuana in a day;  almost one in four can get marijuana in an hour .  Obviously letting unregulated dealers control the marijuana market is not protecting your kids from access to marijuana.  On the other hand, aggressive enforcement of ID carding for minors, combined with public education have led to some of the  lowest rates of teen alcohol  andtobacco use  ever recorded.   Prop 19 enacts the same common sense ID carding for marijuana as we use for martinis and Marlboros.

2.      To make pot more difficult for kids to sell in school.  Regardless of what regulations we put on marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco, there will be some kids who manage to get a hold of it.  But part of what makes marijuana so easy for teens to buy is that they can all find in their high school one of the  one million teens nationally who are dealing it .  Legal access to marijuana for adults removes the criminal risk markup that makes pot so profitable.  After all, when was the last time you heard of a beer dealer in a high school hallway?   Prop 19 eliminates the huge profit that entices youngsters to sell marijuana.

3.      To make pot less available for transfer from young adults.  Governor Schwarzenegger signed a decriminalization bill  that makes it an infraction, not a crime, to possess and share of up to one ounce of marijuana between anyone 18 and older.   Prop 19 adds a stiff punishment  of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for any adult aged 21 or older who shares marijuana with anyone aged 18-20, just like we punish adults who furnish alcohol to those under legal age.  When it’s tougher for those 18-20 to get marijuana, it’s tougher for them to share it friends under 18.   Prop 19 treats marijuana like alcohol as a privilege for age 21 and older.

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