With them are the prison builders and operators, plus the lawyers, judges, guards and street cops who make their livings off the human agony of this endless stream of meaningless arrests. To their credit, some of these — especially cops who actually care about controlling actual crime — have come out for legalization.
Then come the alcohol and tobacco pushers who don’t want the competition from a recreational substance that — like renewable energy — can be raised and controlled locally. Ditto Big Pharma, which fears marijuana as a superior anti-depressant with healing capabilities far beyond a whole multi-billlion-dollar arsenal of prescription drugs with deadly side effects. They fear an herbal medicine whose warning labels will be limited to statements like: “Caution — use of this healing herb may lead to excessive desire for chocolate cup cakes.”
Of course, to recoup much of the lost youth turnout for these mid-term elections, many might wonder why the Obama administration isn’t taking a more lenient stance on the recent attempts to legalize marijuana in California. Turnout for the November elections in California this year are up significantly, largely because of the widespread support marijuana legalization has from young voters (54% of whom support it, against 34% who oppose). Endorsing the proposition could prove beneficial for many Democratic candidates.
“He’s not listening to the majority of the people who elected him,” said SaraSue Crawford of Jacksonville, Fla. in an interview with the Associated Press. “It’s like he’s ignoring his base.”
Most of Obama’s liberal base (well over half of whom support the legalization of marijuana) are probably saying the same thing about his administration’s recent stance on California’s Prop 19 – the ballot initiative which would legalize the growth and sale of weed.
…Our nearly century-long experiment in banning marijuana has failed as abysmally as Prohibition did, and California may now be pioneering a saner approach. Sure, there are risks if California legalizes pot. But our present drug policy has three catastrophic consequences.
First, it squanders billions of dollars that might be better used for education. California now spends more money on prisons than on higher education. It spends about $216,000 per year on each juvenile detainee, and just $8,000 on each child in the troubled Oakland public school system.
…Proposition 19 isn’t the first marijuana reform to encounter Senator Feinstein’s open hostility. While she currently claims to support medical marijuana, she of course vehemently opposed California’s original medical marijuana initiative, Proposition 215. The marijuana criminalization she continues to defend costs California hundreds of millions of dollars every year in scarce public safety dollars futilely policing a massive, unregulated black market. Marijuana prohibition inflicts criminal sanctions on 61,000 low-level possession offenders in California every year - triple the number in 1990. These failed prohibition policies are universally race-based in their selective enforcement, with African Americans and Latinos disproportionately targeted by law enforcement.
Stephen Gutwillig on AlterNet
The report concludes that, between savings and tax revenue, government budgets would improve by $17.4 billion annually if we regulated marijuana, and approximately $88 billion annually if we regulated all drugs.
Today, I have a lot of successful friends who used marijuana when they were younger, are glad they never were arrested, but say they will vote against Prop. 19 because they don’t want to send the wrong message. In part, I think, they want the government to do their parenting for them.‡ But it’s wrong to criminalize behavior - possession of up to an ounce of (nonmedical) marijuana remains a misdemeanor in California - to send a message. You criminalize behavior that threatens public safety. While marijuana use can threaten public safety, in every way, laws against marijuana enrich criminal cartels.
Prop. 19 - End marijuana prohibition, vote yes
‡ evidence of cannabis damaging the capacity reason?