Legal marijuana would help state

Proposition 19, which would legalize the use and growth of recreational marijuana, has come under fire and been dismissed by some people in the community as a liberal move by Californians to promote the use of a damaging drug. If the proposition passes, it will be legal only by state, not federal law. Californians will cast their vote on Nov. 2.

The Green & Gold supports the passage of this proposition. There are three main reasons: overall, money will be saved; the unfairness of not passing it; and the ability for government to regulate marijuana’s use.

If Prop. 19 passes, the state will save money in the long run. Why? Fewer people will be sentenced to prison time for marijuana-related offenses and police will spend less time trying to convict and track down drug marijuana felons. If fewer people go to jail, less money will be spent on prisons. People who really belong in jail will fill up the cells. The passage of Prop. 19 will help keep serious criminals in overcrowded prisons and keep the state from wasting millions in sending petty drug users to jail.

Not passing Prop. 19 is simply unfair. Many other more hurtful substances, like alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, are already legal. These substances can cause life-threatening conditions like cancer and kidney damage. Among cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana, marijuana is the best vice, because it doesn’t cause death. If Prop. 19 is passed, people won’t need a doctor’s appointment to have pain relief or join the medical marijuana program; the patients could just go to the store and buy the drug or cultivate it in their own backyards. For the consumers, Prop. 19 would save them time and money.

We agree that marijuana is a drug, and an addictive one at that, but isn’t it better if the government gets to regulate it? Marijuana will never be completely eradicated from human use. The best we can do is to legalize it. Currently, the government doesn’t have the ability to tax, license, let alone regulate marijuana. Legalizing marijuana would help cities generate revenue that can go to something meaningful, like funding schools, fixing public roads and renovating hospitals. It is in the best interest of society’s health to pass Prop. 19.

Most of the opposition’s arguments are based on misconceptions. If the law passes, the federal law on medical marijuana still remains in effect. Those consuming the drug will have to be at least 21 years of age, and will be prohibited from giving it to minors or smoking it in front of them.

History has proven that banning things causes the population to want it more and smuggle illegal things in, effectively creating a black market. Having marijuana be illegal causes many social problems, empowering the drug cartels and drug dealers who get their income without paying taxes and having power over the addicted. Voter approval of the proposition could reduce or eliminate the criminal marijuana trade. Cartels won’t have a motive to traffic the drug if it is already legal in the US.

According to the latest Field poll, the majority of Californians are leaning towards a “yes” vote on Prop. 19. It is time for Californians to recognize the thriving field of cultivating marijuana.

Vote for Prop. 19 to help the government regulate the flourishing legitimate business of marijuana—and help our city through generating revenue and freeing up valuable police time in the process.