Weed proposition on the ballot again

California ballot proposition 64 has the potential to end the most tiresome of conversational and class presentation topics — that weed should just, like, be legal, man.
California is one of several states with marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot this November, including neighboring Arizona. If the proposition passes, California would join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia in a small — but important — minority of states that allow the possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
The initiative would allow individuals to possess up to one ounce of the drug, and consumption would be limited — like alcohol — to adults 21 years-old and over in private homes and certain licensed businesses.
Individuals would also be permitted to grow up to six plants in private homes.
The state would regulate the licenses necessary to operate dispensaries, which would not be allowed within 600 feet of schools. Unlike the failed 2010 proposition that aimed to legalize marijuana, Proposition 64 allows local governments to deny dispensaries the ability to operate within their jurisdiction. For example, Brentwood might not allow dispensaries within its city limits, but it would be legal to purchase a joint from an Antioch dispensary and bring it home to Brentwood to consume. Similarly, cities and counties would be able to enact an extra sales tax on top of the statewide 15 percent.
According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, California’s recreational marijuana industry could generate over a billion dollars a year in tax revenue alone.
“We’ll be putting an unprecedented amount of money into research,” Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom told the Santa Cruz County Medical Society in July.
Two million dollars per year will be given to UC San Diego to further study the drug’s medical uses. Three million dollars per year will be given to the CHP to address the difficulties law enforcement has with determining how impaired a driver is when they are pulled over. Tens of millions of dollars per year will be directed toward addiction treatment facilities and programs. Ten million dollars a year will also be given to public California universities to study the effects of Prop 64, which will lead to any sort of policy corrections proponents say the flexible initiative allows for.
After that guaranteed money is allocated, leftover revenue will be split three ways — 60 percent to youth programs and drug treatment, 20 percent to law enforcement and 20 percent to the rehabilitation and preservation of the environment.
Though the state’s lieutenant governor is supporting it with what sig.inddlooks to be a majority of Californians — a Public Policy Institute of California Poll from Sept. 18 has 60 percent in favor of Prop 64 — only four of the state’s 53 Congressional representatives have formally endorsed the proposition. (Contra Costa representative Mark Desaulnier’s office said the congressman has no official position on legalization.) Breaking with the California Republican Party, the lone Republican, Costa Mesa representative Dana Rorhabacher, cited conservative principles when endorsing earlier this year.
“Our current marijuana laws have undermined many of the things conservatives hold dear — individual freedom, limited government and the right to privacy,” said the congressman.
Democratic stalwart Sen. Dianne Feinstein is also breaking with her state’s party, actually helping to write the official argument against it in the California voter’s guide. Critics, including many of the state’s law enforcement agencies, say Prop 64 would allow homeowners who live next to school to grow marijuana plants, which they argue would increase availability to minors, though supporters say marijuana possession and consumption would still be illegal for minors.
Critics also cite a AAA study that says fatal car crashes have doubled in Washington since legalization, but supporters say drunk driving fatalities are down, and a 2016 Columbia University study of 69 thousand traffic fatalities across 18 states found a substantial decrease in opioid-related traffic fatalities after medical marijuana was legalized.
Proposition 64 is just one of the several attempts to legalize the drug since Federal law criminalized it under the Marihuana Stamp Act of 1937.
1972’s Proposition 19 would have legalized possession just a year after President Nixon declared the War on Drugs. 66.5 percent of Californians voted no, with only Berkeley and San Francisco producing affirmative majorities.
Proposition 215 passed in 1996 with 55 percent of the vote, allowing the sale and use of medical marijuana, despite many law enforcement groups predicting a crime wave.
Six years ago, another Proposition 18 was again voted down, but with a narrower margin than its ‘70s forebear, garnering 46 percent of the vote.