Wednesday, November 3, 2010

California and Its Pothead Citizenry

So as we've all seen, Proposition 19 has failed in the state of California. For those of you living under a rock the past six months ago, proposition 19 was an initiative to legalize marijuana in this state for citizens 21 years of age and up. I'm not going to lie, I voted yes on the proposition in hopes of legalizing it and I was pretty convinced prior to the election it would fail. I won't hate you or dislike you if you voted no on the proposition, I just hope you know why you voted the way you did. And the sad part is, from the posts and comments I've seen on facebook, the majority of you voted no for all the wrong reasons.

First, let me tell you some perfectly good reasons you should have voted NO on proposition 19. If you voted no because the actual language of the proposition was unclear and was poorly written, you had a completely valid reason to vote no. The proposition legalized marijuana in California, however it allowed for counties that wanted to continue the prohibition of marijuana to do so. So if I bought legal weed in Los Angeles, took it to Riverside county where it might've remained illegal, do I get arrested? I purchased the weed in a convenience store, I am of age, and was correctly taxed, yet just because of my location in the same state it becomes illegal? The proposition didn't address that major issue and the bureaucracy necessary to determine situations like that could've cost the state even more than the proposition created. So if you voted no on the proposition due to lack of comprehensiveness, good for you.

A second good reason to vote no on proposition 19 was that even though it would be legal according to state law, the federal government still has marijuana listed as a schedule one drug (along with cocaine and heroin among others) therefore making it illegal on a federal level. If you ever took an American history course and payed attention, this country fought a civil war because the southern states had issues with the federal government having too much power and state's rights were being infringed. If you recall, the union won and the federal government maintained its supreme rule over individual states. The constitution explicitly states the federal law will always override state law when the two conflict. With that being said, one could make the argument that proposition 19 is unconstitutional and even if it was passed, it would most likely be stricken down in the United States Supreme Court. So if you voted no on proposition 19 based on that argument, good for you.

However, from what I've seen, most of you did not vote no on the proposition for this reason. Granted, I am generalizing, but based on comments and simple observations, it is pretty easy to conclude that those of you who voted no on proposition 19 did not have either of the two previous arguments in your mind. Many people voted no on proposition 19 because people who smoke weed are stupid, lazy stoners. To make a generalization like that is ridiculous, ignorant, and inappropriate. There exists a population of marijuana smokers who are unproductive members of society, but to take a stereotype of a group, and apply it to an entire population that consists of academics, musicians, actors, politicians, lawyers, and doctors is a foolish assumption to make. Next time I see you have a drink I'll make sure to remind you of your alcoholism.

Another reason I've seen people vote NO on the proposition is because weed is bad for you and its morally wrong. Based on that argument, should we ban everything that can potentially harm you? Maybe driving should be criminalized because according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2005 almost 40,000 people died in car accidents in the U.S. Click the link to view the percentage estimated to be alcohol related. Or maybe we should outlaw contact sports, that cause serious injury to large portion of its participants, including paralysis as seen here. One might say that those are extraordinary examples and that isn't enough to prohibit these activities. Yet somehow that's acceptable to do the marijuana using population in this country for whatever reason.

Also, people argue that it is morally wrong to smoke weed because it alters your mind in I guess an inappropriate manner. If you abstain from drugs and also alcohol and make this argument that weed is somehow morally wrong, good for you, you are maintaining your principles and you are true to what you say. However, to consider the consumption of alcohol acceptable and the consumption of marijuana unacceptable doesn't necessarily follow. Both alter your ability to make decisions and compromise your rationality. Both can impair your physical judgement and can impair depth perception. Both are depressants with alcohol tending to cause violent reactions more frequently than marijuana. Alcohol scientifically has severe consequences with mass consumption whereas marijuana has actually showed promise as a valid medical treatment. So to say alcohol is okay and marijuana isn't based on those grounds doesn't follow.

To rap this all up, I'm not even going to discuss the history of American drug laws because those in itself are a joke and their creation were inherently racist nor am I going to discuss the fiscal consequences of the war on drugs and its failure to stop drug use in this country. If you want to talk about it we can, but it'll be a long discussion, I can supplement our discussion with an eighteen page paper discussing both issues. All I'm asking is that when something similar to this proposition comes up again (which I believe it will in our lifetime), really consider why you're voting against it and the logic you used to reach that conclusion. Because if you read any of the previous paragraphs, you'll see a lot of these arguments just don't follow. Maybe I missed a key part of the opponents logic and if I did, I'd encourage you to let me know. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope you learned a little something.


  1. Hi,
    First time at your blog...I enjoy your Prop. 19 thoughts...I share them..Maybe in two more years? Aside from all the other factors, Californian's turned down a great source of tax revenue..something we so desperately need...
    I'm going to read some more...

  2. Hey Julie glad you enjoyed it, hopefully you got a chance to look over some of my other ones as well.