Last Thursday, Governor Schwarzenegger decriminalized marijuana. Somewhere in the chronic haze of my mind, I might have expected this to happen: The Terminator saves the kid from robots trying to take away his civil liberties — or something like that. He was sent with a mission from the future, you know. After Google Earth becomes SkyNet and takes over operational command of the United States military, people are definitely going to want to smoke weed. Now they can without fear of arrest. Thanks, Arnold! I can say I’ve never been more proud of you in your term as Governor of California. Now on to the other $25 billion in the state budget shortfall…

[media-credit id=20177 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]Of course, this act changes little within the letter of the law, with the fine for possessing up to an ounce of cannabis capped at $100, but now as a civil rather than criminal offense, there will be no jury trial for defendants. I suppose you will simply pay the fine if caught, and the state will save big on lawyer fees. By virtue of the fact that people now caught possessing weed for their own enjoyment will no longer receive arrest records, I am glad for this change of rules.

This victory is still a preamble, with Proposition 19 emerging on the horizon through the grape blunt smoke… and seven percent of California voters are still undecided, according to the PPIC Statewide Survey. The bright news in this survey is that 52 percent of “all likely voters” support the passage of the marijuana legalization measure.

This is a challenge from the universe to see if stoners can get up off their collective ass for one day to make a change in marijuana law. Imagine the siege of Iwo Jima except with American smokers raising a giant pot-leaf flag on the summit of a mountain of bullshit, non-science and misinformation: That is what Nov. 2 could be, California. One day. Make it happen, Cap’n.

Not all people engaged with the cannabis industry are supportive, and understandably so. Many growers rely on the covert aspect of the marijuana market to live as a small-scale niche supplier. Some of these people have families, and full legalization has big business implications that could snatch away the very niche in which they thrive. This is a legitimate concern for them, but I feel that these fears are overplayed. We are talking about one of the most innovative, resilient and people-based markets that exists on the North American continent today. There are a million opportunities to make money in a refined marijuana market that commands higher value.

A person might, for example, open a restaurant on State St. that serves various fine cuisines, but the customer is offered the option of ordering a dish either the standard “delicious,” or the alternative: “glorified.” Glorification would involve the addition of marijuana butter at a certain stage in the preparation of the dish. A customer, if they desired, might also be able to enjoy, courtesy of the house, a crisp rolled joint ready to smoke just to the right of the soup spoon on the table. Would you frequent such a restaurant if it were permissible? I sure as shit would.

For reasons such as this and those more obvious, Prop. 19 is a round benefit to average Californians more involved with the toke after work than any ‘industrial activity.’ Easier access to herb, combined with home ‘gardening’ and the freedom to smoke a pack of blunts at a concert … Well, I am in favor.

For the remaining California citizens who abstain completely from marijuana and other dangerous drugs, they might consider the likelihood that their state is on the fast track to becoming the next Greece with its dismal budget outlook. Once a certain great number of public employees and institutions are eviscerated of their funding, the human brain seems to revert to a primal and anarchic program: Riot! Nothing like that has ever happened in Isla Vista, right?

The cultural transition to a stable and tolerant “post-war” society is steadily manifesting. People who are capable of rational decisions unfounded on fear are not so dense to lump all “drugs” into one category. Such rational people must decide on evidence. The drug “marijuana” has never directly killed a single person in all of recorded human history. The holistic medical herb, Cannabis sativa, been a regular aid to human life for at least 5,000 years and will continue to be for as long as humans exist. To deny such reality is fantastically naïve.