Vote ‘yes’ on Prop. 64 to end modern-day prohibition
In between studying for finals and binge-watching Netflix this Nov. 8, don’t forget to vote on what is arguably one of the most consequential decisions of our generation, one which will change the face of politics far into the future — the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Let’s be blunt. The Editorial Board endorses Proposition 64. California, although the first state to establish a medical marijuana program, has been slow on the uptake to legalize marijuana for recreational use. California voters have been presented numerous times (most recently in 2010) with similar ballot measures, but have failed to pass a meaningful drug law.
But this year looks promising. With 58 percent of adults in the United States favoring legalization, a slew of young voters itching to roll up and more people flocking to medicinal marijuana dispensaries to alleviate a number of ailments, it’s time to weed out antiquated laws prohibiting the use of cannabis.
Legalization would mean an increase in tax revenue for the state of California. Oregon alone collected $25.5 million in pot taxes just six months after imposing a tax on recreational marijuana and Washington expects to receive a staggering $1 billion in tax revenue from pot sales over the next four years. This tax revenue would go to drug research, treatment, grants relating to marijuana health and safety, youth programs and more.
Legalizing the use of recreational marijuana would also go a long way in helping to solve some deep-seated inequities, particularly toward people of color in the criminal justice system. Some of the worst casualties of America’s drug war have been those found in possession of marijuana, with bizarre prison sentences being doled out seemingly at the presiding judge’s discretion.
The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Prop. 64, could solve some of these issues for the foreseeable future. California cannabis growers fear big business encroaching on the weed industry, or at the very least that legalization would increase bureaucratic red tape.
There’s also the issue that many edibles are currently packaged to look way too much like normal candy bars. It would be easy for a child to mistake your regular, run-of-the-mill chocolate bar with one that is loaded with enough THC to take down a horse.
While the Editorial Board is more than ready to support the masses of toke smokers, we also acknowledge the need for regulations to better label THC edibles and to protect small weed growers in California.
That being said, we have high hopes for marijuana, in terms of the tax revenue California will gain, decriminalization and increased access to a relatively cheap alternative medicine. Although cannabis research has been somewhat stunted by issues of legality, studies suggest that cannabis has tremendous medicinal benefits when used correctly. In the immortal words of Nick Offerman, champion of the people, “marijuana is quite possibly the finest of intoxicants. It has been scientifically proven, for decades, to be much less harmful to the body than alcohol when used on a regular basis.”
Also, if we think about it specifically as an agricultural commodity, can we expect UC Davis, as a leader in agricultural research, to help perfect the science behind marijuana? Cannabis 101, anybody?
Voter registration ends Oct. 24. A ‘Yes’ vote for Prop. 64 would put California on track to meet the successes of other cities and states that have managed to properly regulate the drug. Make sure to register by the deadline and let your voice be heard. As always, stay high Aggies.