All About Proposition 19

A Cannabis sativa leaf.
Image via Wikipedia

By Ben Spielberg

Break it up, roll it up, light it up and inhale. I can almost hear the cacophony of lighters igniting at once if California’s Proposition 19 passes this November. Proposition 19, or Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 has the following implications for the average consumer, aged 21 and over: they may carry up to one once of marijuana, they may use it in a private residence, and they are allowed to grow plants in a space of up to 25 square feet. The existing laws of intoxication will still be enforced, however—for instance, driving under the influence will bring about the same repercussions as driving drunk. Another interesting part about this attempt to regulate marijuana usage is that the proposition states that a person above age caught selling marijuana to a minor will face between three and five years in federal prison.

I am a little torn hearing about this potential legalization of marijuana. Not only am I in recovery, but I’m serious about recovering as well. I loved smoking weed when I was younger, and now that I’m sober how will I possibly deal with these new, socially acceptable triggers? In a way it is really no big deal—there are drug triggers everywhere around me. I walk into CVS and I see a pharmacy. I buy cigarettes at liquor stores. This is an issue that runs a lot deeper than jealousy; rather, this is an issue of freedom and personal liberty. Our jails are the most overcrowded in the world, and I don’t think taking my grandmother from her assisted living and throwing her in the joint is really going to do any good. Sometimes we forget the laws were invented to protect the people, nor hurt us.

It is estimated that in California alone, about $14 billion a year goes into the marijuana industry. That means this state could potentially gain $1.4 billion annually in taxes. Maybe state parks won’t have to be forced to close down every year. It is difficult to determine the consequences of such actions, but maybe regulating and taxing marijuana could lead to a child’s dream–swinging in a beautiful, green park while the rest of the world slowly breathes in and inhales the smoke.

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