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Prop 19 Aims to Legalize Pot in California

The question of whether to pass California Proposition 19 — and effectively legalize marijuana use, cultivation and transport within the state — is steadily coming to a front as Nov. 2 draws near.

The state proposition would allow anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use, consume marijuana in a non-public area and grow up to 25 square feet of cannabis in a residential space. Known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, the proposition would also enable local governments to institute taxes and fees — as well as authorize criminal and civil penalties — related to marijuana use in their principalities.

Currently, medical marijuana cultivation, use and transportation are legal in the state under Proposition 215, passed in 1996. More recently, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB 1449 on Oct. 1 this year, which renders the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a civil — not criminal — infraction starting Jan. 1.

However, under federal law marijuana is a Schedule I banned substance.

Acclaimed as one of the nation’s foremost experts in issues of medical marijuana, drug abuse and prevention, Dr. David Bearman in Goleta has over 40 years of professional experience as an advocate for responsible marijuana use.

According to Dr. Bearman, Prop 19 broaches a nearly century-long conflict between corporate interest, unfounded medical assumptions and marijuana allies.

“It’s certainly not a perfect proposition,” he said. “What’s going to happen [should it pass], is this is going to put an enormous amount of pressure onto the federal government to correctly interpret the 4th and 10th amendment of the constitution.”

Proponents of Prop 19 extol the fiscal benefits that would come from taxing marijuana and the progress it would make toward alleviating the state’s jammed penal system. Moreover, some recent polls have shown that close to 70 percent of youths ages 18 to 34 would support its passage.

“There hasn’t been a better time for the legalization of marijuana,” Kathryn Frazer, a second year sociology and religious studies major said. “It could help stimulate the economy … the government could better control usage.”

Furthermore, Bearman said, health risks associated with marijuana usage are insignificant.

“The American Medical Association testified [in the 1950s], saying that they had found no adverse effects of cannabis on health,” Bearman said. “The main health effects of using marijuana would be cough and increased sputum production — but that’s only if you smoke it.”

Antagonists of legalized pot have voiced fears that Prop 19’s legal wording allows for loopholes and uncertainties. The No on Prop 19 campaign professes, “It’s a Jumbled, Legal Nightmare!” as its slogan.

Additionally, many caution that Prop 19 may usher in health and safety concerns. Deborah Fleming, associate dean of Students, Community Life & Special Programs at UCSB, said marijuana has a reputation as a gateway drug, besides already being widespread.

“My concern would be that we’ve already got a lot of use of marijuana in Isla Vista — something like 39 percent of UCSB students have reported use in the last 30 days. It’s higher than the national average. We’re significantly higher than the rest of the nation,” Fleming said.

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22 Responses to Prop 19 Aims to Legalize Pot in California

  1. Mateo

    October 15, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Vote No.

    19 won’t help the state budget. If I could grow plants in a 25 sq ft area, there would be no need to buy weed elsewhere. Thus, there will be no tax profit generated. Just thousands upon thousands of small cannabis farms. And thousands of new dealers. Silly.

    • Nathan

      October 18, 2010 at 2:35 am

      if it were legalized who would bother buying it?… such a easy plant to grow!… help global warming by growing…

    • Barry

      October 28, 2010 at 11:57 am

      Are you serious? What do you actually know of the subject??
      If its legalized why would you think there would be an increase in dealers?
      Do you have any idea the amount of revenue that it can bring in?
      Do you know that Mexico is in a drug war? This would obviously help diminish mexican drug trafficking and violence. It also would save the state millions in useless arrests and housing of inmates.
      Mateo, educate yourself before you vote.
      Amsterdam has had a decrease in crime as well as death overdoses due to the fact of legalization. Its a plant that our founding fathers harvested and believed in. Research it..figure it out.
      Alcohol is much worse. Dont believe the hype about marijuana, youre brainwashed.

  2. mmj

    October 14, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Marijuana smoke is not medicine. FDA has not approved marijuana smoke as treatment for any medical disorder. Medical marijuana is a SHAM. Medical marijuana is LEGALIZED marijuana under the disguise of medicine. Anyone including teens can get a medical marijuana card. Search Google for medical marijuana card and you can get your own. All you need is a fake chronic pain or insomnia, some money and a quack doctor.

    Vote no on 19, then repeal all medical marijuana laws. Do it right and have it all start from the Federal Government.

    • Pete

      October 17, 2010 at 6:31 pm

      Cannabis has been used as medicine in every civilization on every continent for at least 4,700 years. And was used in numerous patent medicines and sold over the counter in America until 1937. So, yes, it was treated as medicine by millions of people for thousands of years, and was viewed as medicine by US in the very recent past. But if you want to close your ears to history and experience, no one can stop you.

    • Barry

      October 28, 2010 at 11:58 am

      and codine is a medicine…you people are stupid. seriously.

  3. tenfarther

    October 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Good arguement Erik, I actually made the same arguement in a forum elsewhere for those against legalization even though I am for it. The truth is that people that already smoke already pose the same risk, legalizing it wont change that fact. There are also oral tests that can detect the presence of marijuana for 2 weeks to a month after using, coupled with other evidence like improper lane usage and the smell of marijuana in a vehicle as well as red glossy eyes, there is no real problem enforcing driving under the influence of marijuana. Also, your statement about “pot heads driving cars and killing people” makes you look ignorant and ill informed. being under the influence of marijuana =/= alcohol and if you had any personal experience in the matter you would know better. Those who already smoke would not be treated differently than they are now after legalization and wether or not the law passes wont change the number of people who choose to drive under the influence irresponsibly. Where you are misguided is that you believe passing the law will increase the number of incidents of driving while intoxicated, where you have no evidence to point to in order to support that statement.

    • pot accident

      October 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm

      Search news.google.com for “marijuana accident”
      and you will find pages and pages of accidents with people who have marijuana in their system.

      • dewski

        October 18, 2010 at 5:21 pm

        Search news.google.com for “alcohol accident” and you will find pages and PAGES of accidents with people who have alcohol in their system…. Alcohol is legal… it’s all about responsibility.

  4. john

    October 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    If I can grow a cannabis plant in 25 square feet of earth on private property per prop 19, one plant yields well over an ounce of marijuana . Once harvested and dried for smoking wont I be in violation of breaking the law for possession of more than an ounce subject to felony arrest?

  5. Erik

    October 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Vote no on prop 19!
    Unless you want a bunch of pot heads driving cars and killing people since its untraceable, unlike alcohol. And all those tax dollars that you think were getting from it are all going to be wasted in legal fees. Really this is what we want? Trust me there is a reason why Amsterdam is seeing to make it illegal again.
    Keep it medicinal!

    • Pete

      October 17, 2010 at 6:33 pm

      Theree’s also a reason why Amsterdam has a much lower per capita consumption of cannabis than we do.

    • Matt

      October 18, 2010 at 10:39 pm

      You’re a flat out liar. Most people in The Netherlands want a more liberal drug policy, where the supply side is also decriminalized.

      Google “Amsterdam Psychiatrist Blasts US Drug Czars for Distortions, Fear-Mongering” to get a real idea of the dutch experience.

    • Chance

      October 19, 2010 at 7:17 am

      Are you stupid? Untraceable? It’s even MORE traceable than alcohol, because it stays in one’s system for much longer, first and foremost. Secondly, the actual accidents caused by stoned driving vs. drunk driving don’t even compare. Drunk driving kills. Stoned driving keeps IHOP and Denny’s in business.

      The next time you decide to speak, try actually checking your facts. That is unless you were TRYING to look like a moron ;)

  6. JC

    October 14, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Re-Legalize it, time to recognize it!

  7. weathereye

    October 14, 2010 at 11:09 am

    The government has lied about marijuana since 1937, and cannot be believed. YES ON 19.

  8. Thwacke

    October 14, 2010 at 8:24 am

    If in fact cannabis is a gateway drug, logic would lead us to conclude that there must be a much higher number of heroin,coke/crack,meth addicts at UCSB that anywhere else in the country no? With 39% of students using every month, they must have an incredibly high crime and overdose rate…

    What they have is a “happier and healthier than the National average” population of students. I would be VERY interested to see if the actual rates of abuse of alcohol by these students isn’t actually LOWER than the National average.

    Human beings, by nature seek some alternative to their mundane lives. Let us hope and pray that Ca. votes YES and helps Americans to find a safer alternative. VOTE YES ON 19 and HELP CHANGE THE WORLD.

  9. joe riley

    October 14, 2010 at 8:10 am

    if mj was a gateway drug wouldn’t we all be using cocaine and heroin right now? what some 80% of people have tried marijuana in their lives?

  10. Madcapunlimited

    October 14, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Vote YES on Prop 19 and vote in favor of liberty! If you really want the government out of our lives, legalize marijuana and help out millions of people who have been denied that option for decades

  11. walker

    October 14, 2010 at 6:15 am

    i agree vote november 2nd and change the minds of the conservitive world that legaization is the awnser.

  12. Christian

    October 14, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Jesus said, Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. (Matthew 7:12).

    I know I would not want my child sent to jail with the sexual predators, or my aging parents to have their house confiscated and sold by the police, over a little marijuana.

    Change the world. Get registered and vote.

    Just Google your state name and the phrase, voter registration. In many states, you can simply print off the form and mail it in, but do it today! Registration deadlines are upon us!

  13. malcolm kyle

    October 14, 2010 at 3:45 am

    While bullets fly into El Paso and bodies pile up in the streets of Juarez, and thugs with gold-plated AK-47s and albino tiger pens are beheading federal officials and dissolving their torsos in vats of acid, here are some facts concerning the situation in Holland. –Please save a copy and use it as a reference when debating prohibitionists who claim the exact opposite concerning reality as presented here below:

    Cannabis-coffee-shops are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side.

    A poll taken earlier this year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures.

    It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly marijuana-tourists and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. Public nuisance problems with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops.

    While it is true that lifetime and past-month use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition.

    According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure.
    In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15 to 24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

    The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

    In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

    Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 — roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.

    In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. That’s drugs, he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

    Here’s a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing Drug Czar misinformation

    Now let’s look at a comparative analysis of the levels of cannabis use in two cities: Amsterdam and San Francisco, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health May 2004,

    The San Francisco prevalence survey showed that 39.2% of the population had used cannabis. This is 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample

    Source: Craig Reinarman, Peter D.A. Cohen and Hendrien L. Kaal, The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy

    Moreover, 51% of people who had smoked cannabis in San Francisco reported that they were offered heroin, cocaine or amphetamine the last time they purchased cannabis. In contrast, only 15% of Amsterdam residents who had ingested marijuana reported the same conditions. Prohibition is the ‘Gateway Policy’ that forces cannabis seekers to buy from criminals who gladly expose them to harder drugs.

    The indicators of death, disease and corruption are even much better in the Netherlands than in Sweden for instance, a country praised by UNODC for its so called successful drug policy.

    Here’s Antonio Maria Costa doing his level best to avoid discussing the success of Dutch drug policy:

    The Netherlands also provides heroin on prescription under tight regulation to about 1500 long-term heroin addicts for whom methadone maintenance treatment has failed.

    The Dutch justice ministry announced, last year, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There’s simply not enough criminals

    For further information, kindly check out this very informative FAQ provided by Radio Netherlands: http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/faq-soft-drugs-netherlands
    or go to this page: http://www.rnw.nl/english/dossier/Soft-drugs