Thursday, October 28, 2010

Reader Inbox: Prop 19

I received a nice little letter in my inbox last night and it brought up something I'm actually passionate about but tried to shy away from addressing in this blog since last time I addressed political issues I got bombarded with hate mail.  )-:

Dear Wife Mom Blogger,
I have been a long time reader of your blog and I notice that we are both from California. With With the midterm elections coming up I was wondering your thoughts on one proposition in particular. Prop 19, which legalizes marijuana is on the ballot, but kind of goes against everything the military stands for. I was just curious your stand on this and why or why not you are for or against it.
                              Love the blog, Lacy.

This might surprise a few people, probably mainly those readers who know me "in real life", but I am absolutely wholeheartedly FOR the legalization, "regulation, control and tax of cannabis" (sale and use of marijuana) in the state of California... Well actually in the United States as a whole, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Prop. 19 would establish a statewide policy, to wit: adults may possess up to an ounce of cannabis and may cultivate a patch of plants amounting to 25 square feet. But it contemplates that there will be a demand to purchase cannabis, as well, so it allows localities to develop their own policies for regulating cultivation and sales (and collecting taxes on them) or to prohibit any sales or cultivation beyond the 25-square-foot limit.

Ok, first of all, with all my beliefs aside... I need to make it clear that Prop 19 really does not have anything to do with the military, and it certainly does not go "against everything the military stands for". Yes, the majority of service members, and subsequently their spouses, are against drug use, but I believe that is only because it is illegal. Look at Marine's and alcohol... Their defiantly NOT against that, and alcohol alters your mindset just as much, if not worse then marijuana.

On that note... Those not from California may not understand our mindset out here... I mean just last month Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (shocker, he's a Republican) signed into law a bill that decriminalizes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The bill reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Currently, small-time pot possession is "semi-decriminalized" in California. There is no possible jail sentence and a maximum $100 fine. But before those found to be in possession still had to appear in court... Well now they don't even have to do that. It's basically like a speeding ticket if you get caught with it.

On Nov. 2, we have an opportunity to change course and take a new approach to the War on Drugs that will allow for responsible adults to use marijuana as a safer and more reasonable enjoyable recreation. We can vote to end the madness of decades of intolerance, in which we have made our neighbors and families into criminals for their choice to use cannabis. We arrest more than 800,000 people a year for marijuana-related offenses in this country. That is a staggering number of people who are treated like second-class citizens and criminals for their choice to use a substance that is far less dangerous than alcohol--a substance that we literally shove down the throats of people as a way to relax and enjoy themselves.

A powerful new ad has started running in which retired San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara, also a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, questions the failed policies of the status quo and asks you to make the right decision and vote yes on Proposition 19.

Chief McNamara states clearly: "Like an increasing number of law enforcers, I have learned that most bad things about marijuana--especially the violence made inevitable by an obscenely profitable black market-- are caused by the prohibition, not by the plant." What does a decorated police chief with more than 35 years of law enforcement experience know about our failed policies on marijuana enforcement? A lot, it would seem. He has spent decades watching us arrest, prosecute and make criminals out of our citizens in the name of cannabis prohibition. He has seen our prison complex grow by leaps and bounds--while cannabis has become more readily available than ever. And, now he calls on you to put a stop to the insanity. How can we keep making the same mistakes over and over and expect different results? We cannot. Marijuana prohibition has failed, and it has failed miserably. We have done nothing to protect our community from danger in the process, but have continually made criminals out of tens of thousands of Californians every year. 

We have not been successful in keeping marijuana out of the hands of our youth, as most report that marijuana is much easier to get than alcohol or even tobacco. We have wasted innumerable resources policing non-violent marijuana crimes, while other crimes have gone unsolved and our community's economic health has deteriorated. How can we justify wasting time and money arresting and prosecuting marijuana crimes when we are laying off teachers and watching our infrastructure crumble? How can we continue to allow cannabis to thrive in a black market where no taxes are collected and criminals are in charge of its distribution? The answer is the we cannot!

Voting yes on Proposition 19 will allow us to take the first rational step towards ending these failed policies and will allow responsible adults to use cannabis without fear of being treated like criminals. We will begin to collect billions in tax revenues from cannabis. More importantly, we will free up our law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes we face in our community. We will take marijuana out of the hands of low-level street dealers and put it in the hands of responsible outlets that are required to check ID before selling it.

I also wanted to post this Fox News clip that I came across... If I didn't make the argument enough, this one republican mom gives an argument very similar to mine.

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