Once again in this upcoming California election Marijuana is up for legalization. Last time around there was Prop 19 and it failed for a variety of reasons – some policy and some perception. Policy aside it did turn out that many voters were confused on the wording of the initiative and thus made the wrong choice in the polling booth. Policy wise, the bill didn’t do nearly enough for a state tax windfall or criminal justice reform. So in a way it’s good that it failed.
This time we have Prop 64 (or AUMA0 – a hefty 62 page bill who’s origins started under the stewardship of Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom. Right away this brings up much tension among the ultra libertarian stoner crowd who doesn’t want their government interfering with their pot. The very suggestion of government regulation hints at an Orwellian table setting that can only aim to bring “the man” even deeper into our lives and now even into our drugs.
There are several problems with this way of thinking. One, the tax revenue from the sale of pot is the only way that this will find mainstream support. And no matter who you look at that, it takes a pretty big bureaucracy to make that work. Two, if drugs have any hope of being legal they do need some regulation for safety, purity and the legitimacy of the sales channels. Three, the medical marijuana boom in California has been a disaster. Most people don’t like to admit that – but it’s not a good thing to walk down the Venice boardwalk and to come across men dressed in green jump suits that will give you a “pot” card for $40 if you say that you have anxiety. That is not a good thing – that undermines the entire integrity of the movement.
Maybe I’ve sold out or maybe I’m just a pragmatist but since we failed with the integrity of Prop 215. I’m all for setting up a government endorsed structure that allows for pot to be harvested, distributed, sold and consumed in a way that is closer to alcohol than anarchy. Yes, 215 helped countless patients suffering obtain their medicine in an easy and cost effective way but Prop 64 allows for that to stay put while we fix the rest.
Again, there’s a lot of major liberal conspiracy mis information out there about how it’s over regulative by essentially just being a product of big brother thus it’s passing will only pave the way for Monsanto to get its hands on cannabis, as an example. Additionally there’s some fear that AUMA will destroy the medical supply chain already created by Prop 215. Both of these are not true.
Small farmers also seem to be uneasy about it because it sets provisions for local governments to still ban cultivation and sales as they see fit within their local communities.
None of this is explicitly true – dots can be connected on theory because AUMA does in fact completely re-arrange the Prop 215 eco-system mainly because it’s completely broken and needs re-arranging.
There is no question that AUMA is an overly complicated document that is extremely difficult for even a lawyer to get through (A GREAT RESOURCE) – even the DPA admits that. I admit, that’s not a good thing. It’s possibly an over burdening government web that will only create more Sacramento red tape for something that may be very simple.
What we have to work through and with is the idea that it’s a great place to start. Period. And from this we can build and refine as we go along. The time is now to stop the madness, to free thousands of inmates (if it passes) to put money back into the troubled communities from sales, to stop racial profiling of black and brown people because they may or may not have grass on them and to finally allow a 21 year old adult to think for themselves by making their own decision on whether or not they can walk into a store and buy a joint.
It’s 2016 – the federal political system is a mess, Trump may win, climate change is a real devastating erosion for our species, natural resources are in short supply, there is a global tension amongst Islam and non-Islam and there is an economic disparity that is threatening to create two classes of people for the entire planet that are very far apart from each other. And we’re still worrying about a fucking plant. Stop. Legalize it. Let’s move on and focus on what really needs focussing.
The SF Chronicle says “Prop. 64 would bring discipline and oversight to an industry that is operating in the shadows, to the detriment of public health, the environment and public safety. Vote yes on 64.”