Okay, Proposition 19 went down in flames. Fuck it. Time to keep this psychedelic gravy train a-rolling and keep all eyes on the real prize coming in 2012: The Beginning of the World.
In all truth, Prop 19 sucked. It was not only vague, but misleading about its intent with the marijuana market. The language of its provisions did not respect, and in some cases restricted, the rights of medical marijuana patients earned in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 215. It did not guarantee the right of California citizens to produce and exchange marijuana with each other. The penalty for giving away small amounts of cannabis (passing a joint) would have risen from the current $100 to a fine of $1,000. Each piece of property, not each citizen, would have the right to cultivate marijuana on a 25-square-foot plot, but considering the investment involved with harvesting the plants, the small yields would likely corporatize the marijuana market.
Like I said; fuck it. All eyes are on the prize. What is the prize? It is a new marijuana-enabling initiative that we are going to herald into existence in 2012 like a carnival parade of somersaulting elephants. Let’s review some basic elements to enliven our success.
Point One: The legal age for cannabis use shall be 18 years.
There is no medical evidence to support the claim that cannabis is toxic to humans. When vaporized or eaten the only thing that can harm the stoner’s health is a dumb decision made while high, such as consuming an entire box of Oreos. If tobacco use is legal at age 18, cannabis, as a safer and less addictive substance, should also be accessible at age 18.
Point Two: One central authority at the state level shall tax and regulate cannabis.
There’s still a sizable pool of cannabis haters out there. Prejudice at the local levels of legal jurisdiction has placed unwarranted pressure on some cannabis dispensaries in California. Whatever level of taxation is determined to be most fair and equitable to both the state and the cannabis market should be applied to all of California. This enables new cannabis producers to act with confidence that some cranky old crackers on a city council won’t jeopardize business just because their favorite brand of prune concentrate went bankrupt and they need to vent. Tax revenue may help protect our national forests by eliminating illegal growing operations.
Point Three: California citizens shall be able to exchange cannabis among each other.
If this point isn’t guaranteed, the proposal in question will surely fail for the simple reason that it’s just fucking lame. This is the essence of free market capitalism: We may cultivate a God-given plant free of taxation by our own willful initiative and reap all the sweet, chronic benefits. This glorious dynamic of populist exchange should not be sacrificed for the sake of mega-producers elsewhere in the state. Cannabis: of the Californians, by them and for them.
Point Four: All medical rights to cannabis enabled by Prop 215 shall be guaranteed.
Firstly, registered medical marijuana patients should retain their rights to cultivate, possess and exchange the amounts as they are currently able to — we must take no steps backward. Secondly, a new medical marijuana Bill of Rights is needed to prevent discrimination in employment, housing and insurance resulting from a patient’s use of legal medicine. Private employers should certainly be allowed to deny a potential employee based on recreational cannabis use, but a medical concern should outweigh an employer’s prejudice in the eyes of the law.
Point Five: California citizens shall have the right to save and store cannabis seeds.
As I stated in a column on Nov. 22, the right to life is about a hell of a lot more than protesting in front of an abortion clinic. America’s biodiversity of hemp seeds has been virtually destroyed over the dark decades of this federal war on drugs. When California legalizes marijuana, it should work to restore this biodiversity by enabling Californian citizens to collect, clean and store seed stock to save valuable genetic material for future generations. Here I defer to our first president, George Washington: “Make the most you can out of the Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”
With these provisions incorporated, victory is assured. I’d stake a five-figure sum on it.