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Weak Stoner Turnout Killed Historic Marijuana Proposition

It’s November of 2010, and that means, yes, we voted this week. We cast our ballots with decisions on governors, senators, house seats and the most talked about voter initiative: Prop 19. I understand why it didn’t pass. It was our first shot, and there are plenty of older and more conservative voters in our state who have yet to understand marijuana and all of its benefits.

[media-credit name=”PHOTO COURTEST OF www.thepeoplescomic.com” align=”alignleft” width=”208″][/media-credit]However, I can’t understand why some of my friends didn’t vote in support of it.  If you are a young person who voted “No” on Prop 19, I have one question: Why the hell not? You were given an opportunity to vote a monumental proposition into law and you blew it. Of course there will be some demographics that aren’t going to vote for it. I mean, we still have individuals in this country who think people once rode on dinosaurs, but those of us with saner thinking should have spoken louder! It was our responsibility to show the rest of the country what we want!

Now I want to be clear, there are a lot of facts and concerns related to the legalization of marijuana that deserve full attention and discussion. I could sit here for days arguing the pros and cons of the bill and its details. However, my fight isn’t with the specific logistics. Instead, I have a problem with the people who should have voted for the bill, but didn’t. I’m talking to you, stoners. I’m talking to those of you who enjoy your “counter-culture” of smoking weed and listening to Rebelution.  I’m talking to all those people who participate in something that is currently illegal and who failed to vote to make it legal.

There was a young man directly in front of me in line to vote two days ago who caught my attention. I really hope you’re reading this, my good sir, because you are the reason I wrote this article. He first recounted a story about not making it to class (I was hazy on the details, but I was under the impression that he took the day off to take edibles.) He seemed to be having trouble understanding that there was no ID required to vote, even though I thought my explanation was clear. (For those of you that are wondering, identification is only required in the state of California for first-time voters who registered by mail and do not have their identification verified.) And lest we forget, he was wearing basketball shorts, a hoodie and a black hat that read “Blaze” in Rastafarian colors. As we moved closer to the door, he loudly proclaimed “Fuck No on Prop 19.”  I had to clench my teeth to prevent myself from telling him off. He was not the first of many people my age to fail to legalize a substance they themselves indulge in.

Why, I ask, would you not vote for it if you or your friends smoke weed in your spare time? Some say, “The prop could be written better. It didn’t really address certain things.” Oh? I’m sorry. Did you want perfection right off the bat? If yes, then please go pack your bags and buy a one-way express ticket to Utopia because that just won’t happen here. Marijuana will not just become a legal substance overnight! It’s not as if one day you’re picking up an eighth from your neighbor and the next day there will be Marlboro Green Editions behind the counter at Albertsons. You have to slow down and be patient. First, make it legal, then come the details. Others in Isla Vista have been caught complaining about their “business” going to shit (you know who you are.) That just makes me mad. All the proposition would have done is made it impossible for the police to arrest them!  Why wouldn’t you support a proposition that will remove a felony charge from your activities?

Whether you’re a dealer or your friends smoke, we all have opinions about this reasonably harmless little green plant.  It has a long history in the U.S. of A. (it is said that even the Founding Fathers had marijuana plants on their farms), and, in California, weed is almost a $14 billion industry.  Prop 19 was our first attempt at legalization, and we did pretty well, all things considered. For those of you who didn’t vote for Prop 19, let me leave you with this: It is no longer a question of if marijuana will be legalized, it’s a question of when.

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2 Responses to Weak Stoner Turnout Killed Historic Marijuana Proposition

  1. Robert Norse

    November 6, 2010 at 10:37 am

    There were many faults in Prop 19 which I discussed at length on my radio show–archived at http://www.huffsantacruz.org/brb-descriptions.html (search there for “Proposition 19”.

    Still there were no increased penalties for minors for possessing marijuana.

    Checking out the text of the failed initiative, go to http://ag.ca.gov/cms_attachments/initiatives/pdfs/i821_initiative_09-0024_amdt_1-s.pdf

    Note that 11300(c)iv says “Personal consumption shall not include and nothing in this act shall permit…smoking cannabis in any space where minors are present.” So while there’s no permission extended, there’s no ban provided either. This was a point repeatedly missed or ignored by anti-19 people.

    Something similar is in placer in SB420 regarding smoking in public places–and in Prop 19–it’s not authorized, but not banned. And presumably Proposition 215 is controlling here in allowing “use” by medical marijuana patients.

    Section 11361 specifically talks about furnishing cannabis to minors, not about minors possessing cannabis. There is an increase in penalties for furnishing.

  2. Philip Cramer

    November 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I was one of the older stoners who voted yes without doing the due diligence I normally do on a Proposition. After doing the due diligence I realized the bill was not just “badly written” but would criminalize smoking for everyone under 21. My daughter, who is not a “stoner” and is a senior in High School knows more than a few college freshmen who voted no because the law would have made them criminals whereas right now possession of under an ounce is the legal equivalent of a parking ticket. Under Prop 19, a college kid under 21 could lose financial aid and wreck their future career with a conviction. For that reason alone it had to be defeated.

    Taxation and certification was left up to local authorities. The town of Rancho Cordova, near Sacramento had already passed a growing tax so punitive it would cost a medical card holder $15,000 or more to grow one outdoors plant a year. Many other towns would have followed and then gone after people bucking the system with the ability to fine and arrest them.

    Why did the sponsors of 19 set it up so local authorities could impose such punitive taxes? Because they had already lined up large scale growing permits in Oakland. The wording of Prop 19 would have left eve3ry right that 215 gave us in danger of being lost other than the right to get a medical card. Everyone with a card currently has the right to grow their own plants. Under Pro 19, tough shit if you lived in Rancho Cordova or any of the other more conservative towns that would have imposed the same punitive growing taxes for something card holders can do freely and legally.

    I am all in favor of full legalization and the state getting a piece of the action in taxes but it has to be done right and Prop 19 was wrong in so many ways. Do the research.