What Young San Franciscans Think of Legalizing Pot in San Francisco

Editor’s note: San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi proposed a June ballot measure that would "license, regulate, and tax the cultivation and sales of cannabis" - whether for medicinal or recreational use, pending board approval. If it appears on the June ballot and voters approve it, San Francisco would be the first city in the nation to legalize the sale and distribution medical marijuana. Young people in San Francisco weigh in on the measure.

Weed is Cool, Taxing It Is Not

Supervisor Mirkarimi feels the city should regulate and tax the cultivation and sale of cannabis, regardless of if weed is used for medical or recreational purposes. Even though Mirkarimi is urgently trying to put this measure on the ballot, he must get the support of the Board of Supervisors first.

It’s about time they push the issue of making marijuana legal in California, particularly because so many people smoke it. I think a lot of people will be excited about this ballot measure. However, a lot of medical marijuana patients may not be happy because now marijuana will be taxed. I don’t agree with taxing weed. I’ve seen what’s happened with taxes on cigarettes—it seems the taxes are raised every month!

Sherry Blunt, 22

Legalizing Marijuana Might Increase Weed Smoking

My first reaction to the possibility of marijuana being legally taxed and regulated is surprise. I've always seen marijuana as a drug and stayed away from it because it is illegal.

I am not sure if I am in favor of this ballot proposal. I have never tried marijuana myself, but I have a brother who used marijuana until his daughter was born a few months ago. If marijuana is legalized, I'm afraid people like my brother will find it easier to get high and find it harder to resist smoking. Drugs, if abused, hurt people physically and mentally. Drugs hurt not just the user but also people around the user as well.

Many things could happen if this ballot measure is passed. People who stayed away from marijuana because it was illegal may begin to abuse it. Others might lose interest in smoking because it will no longer be cool or “against authority” to smoke marijuana. If marijuana dealers were out of the loop, there would be more money flowing around in the economy and less money going to drug lords. There will be big marijuana farms all over the country.

The economy is bad, so legalizing marijuana might encourage business owners to sell the substance and grow it. There is a large number of people in the Bay Area who use marijuana; smoking marijuana is a culture here. As for substance dealers, legalizing marijuana will keep them out of work. Even if dealing is illegal, it is work; dealing is a source of money to feed themselves and or a family.

Oscar D. Servellon, 17

Decriminalize Weed—It Isn’t Dangerous!

I'm against legalization and taxation of marijuana, but pro-decriminalization. After all, Uncle Sam doesn't tax us on the tomatoes we grow for our spaghetti sauce. Cleverly, legislation has wrapped both legalization and taxation into one proposal because we couldn't possibly have one without the other. I hope people don't let their need for weed suck them into unlawful taxation, too!

For thousands of years, marijuana and hemp plants have been harvested. More than 25,000 products can be made from hemp, while marijuana used as a medicine can effectively treat diseases that otherwise go without relief. Both are currently illegal to grow in our soil. The reasons have little to do with the "danger" of being high off marijuana. Marijuana is illegal for political and economic reasons. However, it is the "dangerous high" produced by cannabis that is cited for the contraband.

Mary Jane is not my drug of choice. I can no longer smoke it without getting paranoid. But for some people, marijuana is a miracle worker. There's no reason that those who receive relief from marijuana should be denied it.

Silent, 22

Taxing Weed Will Help Our Ailing Economy

Weed is ultimately the drug that everyone uses and it will always be cool to do weed. Everyone I know has tried weed a least once and liked it. Some people don’t do weed anymore, but everyone still does all the time or from time to time.

I’ve been waiting for over five years for our government to take steps towards legalizing marijuana. This is a good time to move towards making weed legal because our country is having money problems and we could generate money in San Francisco.

But if marijuana becomes legalized, I worry people who sell pot will turn to deal more hardcore drugs, like crack cocaine. Or maybe these folks will turn to violence. People will go to extremes to make money to feed their families.

Weed is a product that helps people rather than hurts people. Weed stimulates minds and put you into a state where not many things worry you. Everyone and their mama smokes weed. Some families smoke with each other.

As of right now, I can buy weed legally. You just need to know where to go and who to talk to. I think that politicians will try to tax weed but the underground street economies will continue to move drugs.

Weed is the purest product in the world. Unless you’ve had a really bad experience with marijuana, you should not judge weed.

Valerie Klinker, 19

Politicians Need to Treat Weed Differently Than Other Drugs

Citizens of San Francisco have the choice to support a ballot measure that, if passed, will tax the growing and selling of weed. I’m excited about this because the police wouldn’t be able to take me to jail over a bag.

I’m in favor of legalizing weed because smoking marijuana is a choice. You should have the right to smoke if you want to smoke. Weed is a different type of drug because it isn't as addictive. Marijuana comes from the earth, so it hasn’t been tampered with. It doesn't do any significant body damage. That’s why politicians should treat weed differently than other drugs.

For those who sell weed, things are going to get a little tougher. If weed is legalized, everybody will have access to it and people won’t need drug dealers. If you rely on weed to pay your bills, you might want a new occupation. If you sold weed all your life, it might be hard to find to a 9 to 5 job. People I know who sold weed are looking for jobs, hitting up the G.A. office, and just asking their baby mamas for money.

Young Dave, 19

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