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stoners against legalization

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director September 27, 2010

    Public support for California’s Prop. 19 — which would legalize the private adult use and cultivation of limited amounts of cannabis, and allow local governments the option of regulating its commercial production and retail distribution — is up significantly, according to the latest statewide Field Poll, released on Sunday.

    According to the Poll, 49 percent of respondents say that they would vote ‘yes’ on 19 ‘if the election were being held today.’ 42 percent say that they would vote ‘no.’

    Self-identified Democrats, men, and non-partisan voters were most likely to back the measure.

    The latest Field Poll numbers mark a significant improvement from the firm’s previous poll, conducted in July, which reported only 44 percent of respondents voting ‘yes’ and 48 percent voting ‘no.’

    Two additional polls released last week also emphasize voter support for Prop. 19. A September 22 Public Policy Polling firm survey of 630 likely California voters found 47 percent of likely voters backed 19, versus 38 percent against. The most recent Survey USA poll of 569 California adults reported similar support, with 47 percent of respondents saying that they were ‘certain’ to back the measure, versus 43 percent opposed.

    PollTracker.com, a website that posts aggregates results of all of the polls conducted on this issue to date shows Prop. 19 leading by 47 percent to 40 percent.

    Speaking of Prop. 19, Dave Borden, Executive Director of StoptheDrugWar.org, recently posted an excellent commentary on the Huffington Post rebutting the myth that passage of Prop. 19 would somehow undermine medical marijuana in California. NORML has addressed this minority (and fallacious) opinion numerous times on this site and on the Audio Stash blog, but Dave really hits it out of the park here.

    Prop 19 Would Help — Not Hurt — Medical Marijuana Patients
    via Huffington Post

    [Excerpt: Read the full text HERE.]

    Are they misinformed or deliberately lying? I don’t know anymore.

    A group of medical marijuana dispensaries organized as the California Cannabis Association has come out against Prop 19, California’s “Tax and Regulate Cannabis” initiative to legalize marijuana.

    The coalition claims that Prop 19′s provisions giving local jurisdictions the power to regulate cannabis sales, including the right to choose whether to allow commercial or other outlets, would enable them to prohibit the sale of medical marijuana to patients, something that under California they currently can’t do.
    The claim is completely false.

    … Fortunately, only some medical marijuana people are so shortsighted as to oppose this historic and important measure. Harborside Health Center in Oakland, and the Berkeley Patients Group are among the top quality groups lending their support to Prop 19. But it’s still worth asking, why are some other medical marijuana providers opposing it?

    I say enough is enough. Whether they are doing it deliberately, or out of deliberate ignorance, they should stop spreading misinformation about Prop 19. Shame on the California Cannabis Association. And YES on PROP 19!

    I also have added my two cents to this ongoing debate. In particular, I’ve addressed the allegation expressed by the so-called ‘Stoners against Prop. 19‘ (and repeated by others) that argues, “Simply put, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative does not reflect most people’s ideas of what legalization would be.” Perhaps that may be true for a minority of reformers. But the conflict doesn’t lie with Prop. 19; it lies with some people’s ‘idea of what legalization should be.’

    Coming to Terms With Taxation, Regulation, and California’s Prop. 19
    via HighTimes.com

    [Excerpt: Read the full text HERE.]

    This November, California voters will decide on Proposition 19, which seeks to enact the most far-reaching marijuana law reforms anywhere in the United States. The immediate effect of Prop. 19, if passed, would be to provide legal protection to the individual marijuana consumer – that is the estimated 3.3 million Californians who are presently using marijuana for non-medical purposes.

    Yet as is apparent by the criticism voiced by some, there’s a minority of folks who wish to define cannabis legalization unconventionally. They would prefer that legalization be characterized as the absence of any regulation whatsoever. It’s ironic because, in truth, it is the present criminal prohibition of cannabis that is an unregulated free for all. Conventional legalization is just the opposite.

    It is counter-intuitive for some critics of Prop. 19 to advocate that marijuana be treated in a ‘legal’ manner, but then at the same time demand that it not be subject to regulation. Bottom line: all legal commodities are regulated in some manner and their retail production or sale is subject to taxation.

    For example, cell phones are legal to possess and use in California, but if an individual uses his or her cell phone while driving they are subject to legal sanctions and intervention by law enforcement.

    Possessing domesticated pets is legal in California and elsewhere, yet certain apartments and home rentals forbid tenants from having pets on the premises. Certain localities have even barred adults from possessing certain pets (e.g., pit bulls) all together.

    Water is legal, but it’s a product that is highly regulated by the government. The state taxes private individuals’ water use; it can add components like fluoride to the product without voter consent, and it can even sanction the private individual if their water use is greater than that deemed appropriate by the government (in times of water rationing). Yet, even with these rules and regulations, is there any organized outcry from the public claiming that water, pets, or cell phones ‘aren’t really legal?’

    Ditto for the subject of taxation. Gasoline is taxed at the state level, federal level, and there’s also an excise tax that is passed on to the consumer. Same with alcohol. There are a multitude of taxes that are charged to the consumer on his or her phone bill. How about the taxes tacked on to airline travel, which equal nearly 25 percent of the consumer’s total purchase price? The number of specific taxes and regulations sought to be imposed upon marijuana under Prop. 19 are arguably minimal in comparison to the taxes and regulations on many commodities consumers already use every day. In fact, under the proposition, an adult can grow marijuana themselves and avoid any taxes all together.

    Is there the possibility that under Prop. 19 some local governments might seek to over-regulate or over-tax certain aspects of the plant’s use or retail distribution? Of course. [Editor's note: And that is why reformers will continue to need to be involved in the local democratic process after 19 passes.] But ultimately, the question is: what is the preferable policy for adult marijuana use – not the Utopian. Right now the state has the power of a gun to seize an adult’s marijuana – even marijuana that is used in the privacy of one’s home – and to sanction that adult with criminal prosecution and a criminal record if their use is for non-medical purposes. Under Prop. 19, an individual would no longer face these criminal sanctions for their private activities, as long as their private use was limited to possession and cultivation within certain limits. That is legalization. And in NORML’s opinion, that is a net gain – not a net loss.