California’s Prop 19

56853833Let's talk about weed.

It looks like California's referendum on the legalization of marijuana is going to pass. Proposition 19 would allow people 21 and older to grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana and possess up to an ounce, and authorizes cities and counties to approve commercial cultivation, retail sales and taxation.

Prop 19 has huge support among younger voters and now has a well funded campaign. If it passes in California, then other states are going to quickly follow. It's not clear how the federal government is going to handle law enforcement in these free-pot states.

I'm agnostic on this issue. Pretty much anybody I know who wants to get weed, can get weed. I'm not sure that legalization of pot is going to change drug use patterns. It will probably make pot cheaper and safer. It could take the organized crime out of the distribution side of things. It will certainly raise a lot of tax revenue for the state. I would like to see it implemented in California as a policy experiment.

It's interesting how so many policies are originating in California these days. Policies can go viral, too.

Question of the Day: Will the legalization of pot lead to more positive or more negative outcomes?

8 thoughts on “California’s Prop 19

  1. I was listening to some program on NPR/public radio one day where an author of a book on prohibition (of alcohol) was interviewed, and he made the point that one of the reasons why prohibition didn’t last is because the elites saw it as a way to gain revenue for the state (as opposed to increasing the income tax). I wonder if we’ll see pot legalized for the same reason.

  2. I think marijuana prohibition is an utter failure. I could (and did) buy it when I was in high school. It was easier to get than liquor, because the people selling drugs were not going to lose a valuable license from the state if they sold to minors. So my view is that legalization will have very little effect in the area of drug use.
    We are destroying Mexico with our drug prohibition. Vile people are making huge amounts of money sending drugs over the border into the US, and are making life in Mexico fearsomely dangerous. Marijuana is part of it, cocaine is another, methamphetamine even. I favor legalization of all drugs, because we don’t succeed in making drugs even difficult to get, and the social effects of prohibition are so awful.

  3. I favor legalization of pot and taxing it. I also favor the completely restructuring, using TASERs, of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

  4. However, I do think it is pretty funny that Prop 19 is happening in the state that gave us anti-smoking laws so harsh that I assume they are written by the makers of Copenhagen.

  5. If we legalize marijuana, it will soon be grown on large mega-farms, and picked by migrant, undocumented workers, in horrible working conditions. Then, prices will drop considerable, and a cute little brown cartoon character named “Hempy” will be stamped onto each dime bag (now 6 cents, with mass production.)
    Parents groups will wail about how Big Pot is advertising the drug to children, and PSAs will sprout up about the evils of marijuana. States will tax the drug, and lots of money will flow into government coffers, until they get too greedy, people stop doing the drug, and the funds dry up.
    So, yes, I approve strongly of legalization.

  6. Interestingly the only one of my friends opposing this lives in Humbolt. Local folks there are pretty afraid that the overall effect on their economy will be very negative. The boutique growers who are pretty much allowed to grow unchecked there as long as they play the game correctly are worried about corporate interests coming in and doing things like getting corporate patents on particular strains and other Monsanto like evil corporate antics. I don’t see how anyone could argue though that getting the gangs out of the trade is a good thing. I myself will take corporate evil over gangs with guns evil any day.
    My only major concern about it is that we’ll end up spending any tax revenue earned on endless court battles which is what seems to happen with all these initiatives.

  7. I’m with MH: it’s funny that the same people are trying to legalize marijuana and outlaw tobacco. It’s sort of like the caucus race in Alice in Wonderland–or maybe like Macbeth’s characterization of life in general.

  8. Fun fact: The well-known movie “Refer Madness” was financed by the liquor industry.
    If we have booze, weed should also be legal. Personally I love a cold beer but I never had to worry about having one too many and puking in the bushes when I was stoned.
    Of course, if they legalize it I would also like to see the same laws about usage, driving, etc.

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