Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Prop 19 Soapbox by a Non-Stoner

Welcome to Election Day. Or if you're me, welcome to In N Out Burger Day at my work. I'm more excited about the prospect of free, delicious burgers than I am about voting this year. This is for three reasons. 1) Have you had In N Out? It's like a religious experience. 2) I really don't feel strongly about any of the candidates/propositions. They all kind of suck. 3) I am one of those mythical, reviled "apathetic youth" that has trouble getting riled up about politics. Yes I know I should care. And there are a few issues I feel very strongly about. These are:

1) The economy. But mostly because I personally will not have a job soon.
2) Keeping religion the hell out of government (don't even get me started).
3) Allowing homosexuals to marry, adopt children, and generally be treated like honest-to-goodness U.S. citizens (see #2)
4) Legalizing marijuana.

That is my entire political platform. If you ever see me rant about something that actually matters (unlike late 90s family sitcoms), it will probably be about one of those issues. The last of which concerns me today on this lovely November 2nd. I will now issue an important disclaimer: I am NOT a stoner. I personally couldn't care less about marijuana. I have tried it a couple times (in Amsterdam where it was legal and what a shocker, they haven't managed to burn their city to the ground yet). And while it wasn't a negative experience, I really didn't care much for it. I'd be perfectly happy if I never did it again.


So why am I so fired up about Prop 19, the proposition to legalize minimal possession of pot? Because California needs the money. I'm sick of budget cuts, bankruptcy, tuition fee hikes, tax increases, overcrowded prisons and all manner of unpleasantness. By taxing and controlling marijuana as much as possible (let's not kid ourselves that we'll be able to control all of it), we can reap the dual benefits of saving money on this ridiculous War on Mary Jane, and tax the shit out of it so we can start filling potholes again.

Kids are going to smoke marijuana, whether or not it's legal. Just like kids are going to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol before they become of age. I know that's poor logic to say just because people kill other people and we can't stop them, we should just make it legal. But honestly, I'd rather have my kid light up a joint at a friend's house on occasion, than get into a car drunk, or start the lifelong addiction to nicotine that leads to cancer. But it is practically impossible, not to mention unlikely that someone will overdose or become addicted to marijuana. In fact, the only reason marijuana became illegal in the first place was because the cotton lobbyists wanted to muscle out hemp in the fabric business. It's basically a smear campaign for economic reasons. I'm not going to get into the health benefits of medical marijuana, seeing as that's already legal and for good reasons.

The main reason I believe in legalizing marijuana is because I firmly believe that the government does not have the right to tell us what to do with our own bodies. Marijuana is not a safety issue, as people are most likely to do it in their own homes just to relax. And while innocent bystanders may experience a "contact high," it is nothing compared to the dangers of second hand cigarette smoke. So if you don't believe in smoking marijuana, don't do it. I fully support that. Just like I fully support abstaining from alcohol or cigarettes for moral or health reasons. But why do you get to harsh someone else's buzz? (Is that what the kids are calling it these days? I'm not really up on my pot lingo). Please don't be like those awful Prohibition activists in the early 20th century. No one liked them, and people kept drinking anyway, with no taxation.

Awesome movie, but not exactly factual.

Decriminalize this harmless, recreational substance. Stop watching Reefer Madness, believing it to be a hard-hitting documentary. Stem the wasted tax dollars on hunting down small-time smokers, and reap the benefits of marijuana revenue. Go Prop 19! Sure, it might be flawed, and not everything we would want in legalization of marijuana, but it's a step in the right direction.

(I know, I should back up these claims with citations and research, but I have to get to work and I really don't have time. Just google it if you're curious. I could be wrong about some things, but my intentions are pure)

And one more thing "It is one thing to get laced at parties, but it is quite another to be fried all day." -Clueless. So smoke responsibly. And buy air freshener, not incense, because that shit smells.


UPDATE: Post election. Wasn't a fan of either gubernatorial candidate. Or the word 'gubernatorial.' And I really didn't expect that we would get away with Prop 19. Eh. What are you gonna do. I'm going to watch SPICE WORLD. Who needs marijuana when you have GIRL POWER!!


  1. Word. I knew I liked you! All except for the apathetic towards voting thing. Although, I used to be the same way. The older I get, the more these issues matter to me, so maybe you'll be more excited about elections in 5-10 years.

    Very well-said. :)

  2. Why thank you! Though I imagine my apathy will only get worse as I get older and busier. This is the age where you're supposed to be idealistic and politically active. I know how important it is, and how lucky I am to live in a society in which I have a say. But I can't seem to make myself care. Though I think it's less due to apathy than an infuriating tendency to see both sides of most issues and realize that there is no right answer. It all feels futile. But that shouldn't stop me from giving my vote and mouthing off about the few things I'm passionate about on my little corner of the internet.

  3. A lot of the disapproval around the 'Boldt for Prop 19 was because of environmentalism. Think about it--if marijuana is legal, big companies can go to California, use unsustainable farming practices and mass-produce it. And then, anyone who really does live off profits from it (whether that's right or not, I don't know) will be financially screwed over as bigger companies can sell it for much cheaper prices.

    The other side of that argument is, growhouses require a ton of electricity to run. If it were legal, people would be able to grow it in the ground without having to hide it. And houses wouldn't be destroyed.

    I don't really care much either way about the issue, so I didn't vote for it. What I am disappointed about is that Prop 21 didn't pass. $18 once a year for free parking at any state park? I would visit so many more state parks! And maybe other people would be encouraged to do so, and that might inspire them to care more about it. What's $18 if you're going to go through the financial nightmare that is owning a car in the first place?

  4. I read the reasons why people were against it and they were all good points. My sister-in-law was staunchly anti-19 and she's a major Humboldt chick. But to me it seemed like the financial benefit was worth the risk. We simply can't afford to not take advantage of legalization. Though I confess I'm not much of an environmentalist and usually put economy over Mother Earth. We have immediate problems to solve, and we just have to do the best we can to conserve along the way.