Marijuana reform stirs the pot

By on April 7, 2010

As of Thursday last week, it was announced that in California, the “Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010” would be featured on the November ballot. For the first time, weed may become another item at the drug store.

To quote Mark Binelli’s Rolling Stone write-up entitled “Marijuanamerica,” “Now, as the economy has cratered and millions of Americans have found themselves forced to rethink their livelihoods, there’s a growing feeling that the country can no longer afford its longstanding prohibition on marijuana — a sense, for the first time since the ‘70s, that pot could soon be decriminalized in many states, or even made fully legal.”

More and more people are beginning to realize the enormity of the announcement last Thursday. Baby steps have been taken over the past 30 years like Proposition 215 in California that has allowed possession and cultivation of medical marijuana and other smaller movements. But these steps have almost been destroyed, with the Los Angeles Council recently shutting down hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries and pot clubs. It seems that every action toward marijuana reform has been met with an equal and opposing reaction.

There are high hopes, however, that this will not be the case come November.

To give a bit more detail on the act proposed, it would allow individuals 21 years and older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. The local government is permitted to regulate and tax commercial production, which, when taking into account California’s faltering economy and the estimation of marijuana taxes bringing in over $15 billion in illegal revenue, is a very important factor.

The bill points out various and important facts about marijuana: cannabis has fewer and less harmful recorded effects than alcohol and cigarettes (both of which are legally sold to adults) the criminal aspect of the product causes an unnecessary underground drug market that could be destroyed with the passing of the law, and other persuading factors.

But is this the right direction? Is America ready for marijuana reform? Thinking about it, I’d say the benefits outweigh any possible consequences.

Without a doubt in my mind, it is easier to obtain marijuana than alcohol, and a lot of people will attest to this as well. This is because an illegal and apparent drug like marijuana, both cheap and easy to find, is everywhere. I wouldn’t need a 21-year-old with a car and willingness to buy for minors, or a $150 fake ID to buy as much weed as I could get my hands on. So to those worried about it all of a sudden being found in everyone’s hands, they should instead understand that if anything, it will be harder for minors to obtain. It will become an adult item foremost, not an item that can be flipped between hands in high school hallways.

Reform has the capability that almost anyone can agree is a positive: destroying crime. Drug cartels and the illegal drug market of marijuana, along with the arrests and murders that go with it, will cease to exist. What it will be replaced with is profit. That $15 billion figure stated previously doesn’t include the savings that will come from removing marijuana from the “war on drugs.”

Not only does marijuana as the prominent modern American cash crop save money, it will also save jobs. The possibilities of new companies, corporations and jobs in every department from labor to advertisement are endless. With an entire new market comes new workers, and a completely new future for California.

There are benefits to marijuana reform. The potential benefits far outweigh the risks, and hopefully in November, others will realize this too.

Comments

About Phil Nobile

Senior Writer
Email: news@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @PhilNobile
Year: 2013
Major: Print journalism
Hometown: White Plains, N.Y.
Dream Job: Writer for The New York Times or Rolling Stone

10 Comments

  1. Jillian Galloway

    April 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Every government report proves that the prohibition *isn’t* preventing millions of Americans from smoking marijuana.

    Our taxes fund the prohibition, the prohibition funds the cartels, the cartels murder children as young as six to protect their drug smuggling routes into the U.S.

    If we’d fight to protect our children then we MUST fight to protect these children! All of us must ask our legislators to sponsor bills to legalize the production and sale of marijuana to adults, nationwide.

  2. Concerned Parent

    April 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Hopefully Californians will be prepared for the “October Surprise” that the prohibitionists will pull out of the hat as November approaches. They will no doubt try some late-breaking scare tactics and continue to ignore the harm caused by putting our young people in prison, the loss of tax revenue, the waste of tax money, the huge cost of enforcement, and all of the other evils of prohibition.
    Parents, let’s watch out for the “October Surprise” and let’s stop putting our own kids in jail!
    Citzens of California can register to vote at w w w . sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm by completing the online form and mailing it to the address on the form.

  3. Jeff

    April 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I have to wholly disagree that the illegal drug market of marijuana will cease to exist mainly for the fact that commercial production will be monopolized by the government , big market companies and powerful agriculture corporations
    such as Philip Morris (meanwhile sitting idling by) that will produce mass production low grade marijuana that will have addictive additives such as nicotine added to the low grade commercial grade marijuana. The reason for this is that “new” regulated marijuana that has low THC with these harmful chemicals and addictive additives will keep people reaching for their wallets more often then not. The public will catch on to this and the black market marijuana will sustain sales.
    Let me ask you, do you think the public will pay a $50 tax on regulated harmful marijuana. I don’t think so.

    On legalization,
    Many advocates believe that California and other states will soon fully legalize marijuana. Whether they’re correct is a matter of considerable doubt. Although popular support for the legalization of medical marijuana is growing stronger in some parts of the country, experts say it is unlikely that the Justice Department would agree to look the other way if a state legalized marijuana outright.

    If that’s true, it means that for any state to fully legalize pot, Congress and the president will have to create legislation granting them the right to do so — not an unfathomable event, necessarily, but also one unlikely to occur any time soon.

    • Lhun

      April 7, 2010 at 3:57 pm

      Congress and the President would be powerless vs. a whole states voters. What are they going to come and arrest us all? Lets see what kind of news that creates!

  4. chmmrx

    April 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    To those whom are against marijuana – please free your mind of arguments attached to fear mongering, tired old stereotypes, and junk science.

    For those of you that FEEL marijuana use is just not right, you do not want it around, or do not want to deal with it, observe the machine behind your “If it feels good, do it” prohibition policy. They tout, it doesn’t have to be about anything other than a question of morality, but they also say it is something that should not be left up to the masses to decide. Just who else are they thinking should decide “morality”? One thing is for certain, they want it to be an entity that agrees with them. We the people of the United States of America do have the power to decide if we so choose. How dare any group think they will steal that right! Definition of morality is exactly when the masses should decide. Contrary to this double standard angle, they also “inform” citizens of inconclusive, out of context, out of date “info facts” from studies they just so happen to accept as valid. Beating the drum, saying let scientific studies decide the matter. Promised lighter sentences if the criminally charged agrees to go to drug rehabilitation. Then turn around and reference the amount of people that go through drug rehabilitation as why marijuana should remain illegal, and as proof there is indeed high addiction….. really? Not only does this also fly in the face of their morality arguments, it is their common enforced practice to ignore the majority of studies done, and any pro marijuana stance. These are not studies or pro marijuana positions by cartoon icons or popular cult imagery as they would have you believe.

    I say yes, “save the children”! Children are indeed adversely affected by marijuana prohibition either through criminalized family members, their very own future, or completely unregulated underage availability.. Drug dealers look to make profit at what they do. This easy profit is directly due to these individuals defying law. They are not required to ID children for age restrictions, and why would they? Their business is above the law, and under the table. Drug dealers have to be caught in their professional practice of secretly breaking the law. A legitimate business, on the other hand, has a lot to lose for breaking age restrictions. Legal store fronts are physically fixed in position, and easily witnessed. Numbers prove age enforcement is not only possible, but plausible when legal business is involved. Countless polls and studies certainly do show it is far easier for the average teen to purchase marijuana than say regulated alcohol. Current underage usage of marijuana is staggering when looking at even enforcement’s own information. The only available form of age control, by this farce of law, is extended penalties. An increased penalty for pushers that already willingly break the law for a profit? This does not drop underage usage or availability. Legalize and regulate marijuana so parents can protect their own children and offenders can be more easily caught!

    In conclusion, there is big money at work – alcohol, textile, oil, enforcement agencies, drug cartels, pharmaceutical companies, etc, all benefit. The rest of us seem to be the pawns who pay. That is unless we speak up and let our voice be heard for change in the current law, and against any individual that would have you believe “A law is a law – it does not matter if it is wrong or right!”.

    The latter happens to be against a founding principle of this great country. Stop wasting resources on this plant. Record eradication every year – as well as – record growth and availability. A growing – 72 year – well funded – failing war that will never end. An anti-human rights money pit for something that is far less dangerous than alcohol. – A Great WAR –

    Full Story With Video At:
    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/marijuana-is-the-flame-heroin-is-the-fuse-lsd-is-the-bomb–3

    • Jeff

      April 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      “Drug dealers look to make profit at what they do. This easy profit is directly due to these individuals defying law. They are not required to ID children for age restrictions, and why would they?”

      You ask and I will tell you that some drug dealers do have morals and will not sell to anyone under 18 years of age.
      I know, the dealers I deal with will not sell to minors. Let’s get facts straight before posting.

  5. Jeff

    April 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Sorry, I retract the part of my last post that reads “let’s get the facts straight before posting and replace it with ” I believe your assumptions are in some circumstances incorrect and are correct in others. : )

  6. todd

    April 7, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Legalization will most definitely happen in the near future. The prohibitionist can not even make valid points without lies. That is what they have been doing, but much of their power was before the advent of the internet.

    Every one of their arguments can be debunked. Too many people realize what a waste of money the drug war on marijuana is.

    Legalization could provide millions of jobs and right now this country needs all the help it can get.

    Name one person that was prevented from trying Marijuana from the current laws? The laws do nothing.

    We just have to keep educated our friends, family and the public. Comments such as these will help.

  7. Luke

    April 8, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    “For the first time, weed may become another item at the drug store.”

    Prior to criminalization, cannabis was widely available in drug stores.Our family business actually had a 1 oz package from the 1920’s labeled “Cannabis USP” which was found in the storage area of a long closed drug store in Idaho.

  8. Eric Reeve

    April 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    If marijuana is legalized in the US I’m afraid that when major corporations grow and control the distribution of marijuana they don’t put addictive compounds inside the marijuana itself. This kind of strategy is the same major companies do with cigarettes to make them more addictive.