California’s Proposition 19

November 1, 2010

in Bombs and rockets, Economics, Law, Politics, Security

Tomorrow, the people of California will vote on Proposition 19: a measure that would make marijuana legal to grow, own, sell, and use in small quantities. The two major arguments being used are economic – since the measure would let counties and municipal governments levy taxes on the stuff – and security-focused – since marijuana is currently one of the sources of financial support for Mexico’s brutal drug gangs.

I have argued before that the best approach to drugs is to legalize, regulate, and provide treatment for addicts. Hopefully, California can set a progressive precedent for the rest of the United States (unlike other examples).

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

oleh November 2, 2010 at 4:43 am

This precedent would also apply to Canada. We already have widespread growth and usage of marijuana. One reason to legalize and regulate marijuana is to obtain another tax revenue source. This will be much easier if California passes Proposition 19.

. November 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

500,000 Californians have been arrested in the past ten years for marijuana possession.

Mostly minorities and the poor.

$1.8 billion a year is wasted policing marijuana users,

when we could be using that money to fund jobs, healthcare, and public safety.

We can stop the insanity in California,

and lead the nation in a new direction.

It’s time to end marijuana prohibition and legalize marijuana. Vote Yes On Proposition 19… Tuesday, November 2.

Milan November 2, 2010 at 11:42 am

Certainly, one argument against legalization in Canada has been “but the United States will never stand for it”!

If California passes Proposition 19, that argument will weaken.

. November 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm
. November 5, 2010 at 10:20 am

I suspect, though, that there’s another reason that the Golden State electorate didn’t bother to legalize pot: Marijuana is essentially legal in California already. In 1996, voters passed Proposition 215, making California one of the first states to legalize marijuana for medical use. “Medical use” is defined with comical broadness. Virtually anybody who wants legal pot in California can visit a friendly doctor, complain of “chronic pain,” and walk out with a marijuana card in about an hour. Indeed, not only is legal marijuana a big business, it’s also becoming a pretty normal business, acquiring all the trappings of a mature industry. There are wholesalers, retailers, chains, brands, logos, coupons, and even TV ads. In September, the Fox affiliate in Sacramento began running the country’s first spot for a marijuana dispensary; in an ad that resembles every late-night spot for acne cures and diet supplements, patients of CannaCare regale the healing powers of marijuana.

But the best way to witness the retailing of marijuana is to visit WeedMaps, a two-year-old Web site that has become the primary online portal for the legal pot business in California. WeedMaps is often described as the Yelp for marijuana, but that undersells it. It’s more like Yelp, MenuPages, Craigslist, Groupon, Bloomberg, and the New York Times Dining section for pot. WeedMaps is the first place you’ll visit after getting your marijuana card—type in your address to find the best local dispensaries—and the place you’ll keep coming back to every time you’re looking for a new high. As a result, it’s become an amazingly profitable business. According to Justin Hartfield, WeedMaps’ 26-year-old founder and CEO, the site makes $400,000 a month, and revenues are growing fast.

oleh November 9, 2010 at 4:30 am

This Proposition was defeated 54 to 46% which I thought was quite close. Perhaps with the passage it will be come a reality.

. November 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

Are Parents Just Saying No to Marijuana Legalization?
By NATE SILVER

That is not to say that advocates for marijuana reform have a hopeless task ahead of them. The uptick in support for marijuana legalization over the past decade or so is probably greater than can be explained by generational turnover alone, and the country seems to be going through a libertarian phase of sorts. My hunch is that the key “swing” demographic could turn out to be empty-nesters: adults whose children are grown. If their positions on marijuana legalization were to become more like those of adults who had never had children in the first place, that would probably be enough to give the pro-legalization side a majority — but likely not otherwise, particularly since the share of “empty nesters” is increasing as a share of the population as adults live to a longer age.

Finally, Proposition 19 suggests that marijuana legalization initiatives may lose some support at the ballot booth relative to where they appear to stand in polls initially. Part of this is because — even in years in which Democratic turnout is comparatively strong — younger adults are considerably less likely to register and to vote. But part of it may also be that the anti-legalization argument has some intrinsic advantages that are liable to become manifest over the course of an actual campaign, such as its appeal to parents.

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